Are you ready to take your ministry to the next level?
If so, have we got an opportunity for you!
You and a team from your church/charge are invited on November 10th and 11th, 2023 at Christ UMC in Pittsburgh, PA to attend Level Up! New Places, New People
Sponsored by the Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Susquehanna Conferences, this two day learning and equipping opportunity for you and your team is designed to be a catalyst for your ministry as you discern and take your next steps . . . in 2024 and beyond!
Each day you will also be given time to gather with your team to debrief and discuss ways to apply what you are learning back in your local community. This follows the model of information + application = transformation. Additional resources will be available to you and your team before, during, and after the event.
Clergy can get 1 CEU for attending Level Up! and 1.2 CEUs for attending both the Pre-Conference Workshops and the Level Up! Conference. Level Up! also counts as an Advanced Course for Lay Servants.
Pre-Conference Workshops - $29 includes lunch on Friday
Early Bird Registration - August 31:
- $110/person when registering two people
- $90/person when registering three or more persons
Regular Registration: September 1 - October 15
- $130/person when registering two people
- $110/person when registering three or more persons
Late Registration: October 16 - October 27
- $150/person when registering two people
- $130/person when registering three or more persons
Dinner Friday evening and Lunch on Saturday will be provided and are included in the registration fee. (Those who register for and attend the pre-conference workshops will have Friday lunch included.)
Beverages and Snacks will be provided throughout the event.
Not included in registration fee
Room Blocks are available at The Crowne Plaza for $149/night (four-minute drive)
164 Fort Couch Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Use group code: LEV when making reservations
To use the group code, the front desk must be contacted directly when making reservations
Dial - 412.833.5300; then dial 0 to reach the front desk
Childcare is free for all registrants.
Click each header below to see more information about Level Up!
Cost: $29 (includes lunch)
Messy Church with Johannah Myers
Come experience Messy Church firsthand! We'll share a full Messy Church session together including a Welcome, Creative Activities, and a Celebration. The pre-conference session includes lunch, making this a full Messy experience. Learn how all components of Messy Church bring a Scripture theme to life in creative, hands-on ways for all ages.
Dinner Church with Luke Edwards
Come experience Dinner Church Firsthand! You will receive teaching around dinner church at the beginning of the session and then the group will transition into a mock dinner church which will include table conversations, prayer, communion and will also include lunch.
Each of the keynote speakers and workshop facilitators have been specifically chosen not just for their subject matter knowledge, but because they are real-world practitioners of the ministry concepts they teach. You will have the opportunity to hear from Rachel Gilmore, Luke Edwards, and Michael Beck during our total group sessions. You will also be able to attend three different workshops with any of those keynote speakers, as well as other leaders.
"Five Congregational Personality Types: An Ancient Pathway for Congregational Renewal in the 21st Century”
Can churches in the 21st century stop, reverse, or prevent decline – and even become healthy, thriving congregations? Leading scholar and practitioner of congregational renewal, Michael Adam Beck, says they can. But the old cookie cutter ways of doing church won’t cut it in today’s world. If churches are going to stop the shocking rates of pastoral burnout and exodus from the pews, they must learn to be the church with new people, in new places, and in new ways.
For congregations to experience what Beck calls, “re-missioning” they must “grow the center, experiment on the edge.” The Five Types deals with the internal work that must happen in a congregation to reorganize for a blended ecology, in which inherited and fresh expressions live together in a symbiotic relationship.
Deep Listening: The First Step to Leveling Up"
Local churches are often organized for a world that no longer exists. Whether you are looking to start a new ministry or take your existing ministry to the next level, deep listening is the first step. In deep listening we ask God to open our eyes and our ears, seeking to understand our community more so we might add something of value. In this keynote you will learn spiritual listening practices that will increase your church’s understanding of its neighbors and help discern where God is inviting the church to expand the kingdom.
"Leveling Up: Creating Space to do New Things"
Are you excited to try something new in your church or community? Are you dreaming and visioning of what could be, but aren't quite sure of how to get there? Are you feeling exhausted or unsure about how others will react to these new ideas?
In this keynote, Rachel will talk about the top 3 things we need to stop and start if we want to level up and try new things when we get back to our home context.
Michael Beck: “Leveling Up: Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church”
The people who find life and community within rural places often feel ignored.
Has the rural church been forgotten? Has urbanization made life outside the sprawl irrelevant? How has the COVID pandemic changed these realities? Can rural congregations struggling to survive find hope and new life? If so, can healthy rural churches actually catalyze a different future for their declining communities and, possibly, the world?
Circuit riders crisscrossed what was for them a new frontier, planting churches
across the landscape of the United States. They shared the story of Jesus with whoever would listen, leaving in their wake a constellation of new Christian communities, many of those located in rural areas.
Those congregations became the centerpiece of rural life for a time. The place where people gathered not only on Sundays to hear a sermon, but to help each other work the land, break bread, and form deep relationships. The rural church was the place where they found a community that could sustain them
through the joys and struggles of life with the land. In many ways, the rural church captured a core essence of the church’s mission: to be the guiding hand to the life of a place.
Can rural congregations flourish again? And can the formation of new Christian communities be integrated in these activities? As it was centuries ago, can we reimagine our places by reimagining the church?
Abigail Browka: "Leveling Up: Fresh Expressions in Online & Hybrid Small Groups" and "Leveling Up: Fresh Expressions in Digital Ministry"
"Leveling Up: Fresh Expressions in Online & Hybrid Small Groups"
Learn how your local church can successfully use Online and Hybrid Small Groups (partly online and partly in person) to enhance your ministry with Pastor Abigail of Everyday Sanctuary.
"Leveling Up: Fresh Expressions in Digital Ministry"
Whether you are a Church with a physical space or digital space, this workshop will focus on how to personalize your digital communication so that people feel more personally connected to your Church. Having an online presence doesn’t have to be impersonal; learn about tools like Push Notifications, Texting, #Hashtags and generational language from Everyday Sanctuary mobile app Creator and Podcaster, Pastor Abigail. Everyday Sanctuary focuses on reaching seekers through simple, accessible faith practice.
Luke Edwards: "Leveling Up: Fresh Expressions in an Age of Loneliness"
The United States is experiencing an epidemic of loneliness with over half of the population identifying as lonely. Fresh Expressions and other ministries of the church have the ability to address this real need in our communities when we focus on building relationships and cultivating community. In this workshop, we will further explore our landscape of loneliness and provide practical tools for building communities of belonging.
Rachel Gilmore: “Leveling Up: Fresh Expressions with Discipleship Pathways"
One of the main reasons why fresh expressions aren't multiplying and reaching new people in the United States and in the UK is our inability to make disciples. Some of us have been in Sunday school for decades but if we were asked to guide someone down the path of discipleship, we would have no idea what to do. How do we, as pastors and laity, develop a discipleship system that makes sense in these new expressions of faith? Join Rachel for a worship as we talk about practical tips and skills to help you with contextual discipleship.
Jason Moore: "Leveling Up: 7 Ways to Increase Engagement in Hybrid Worship” and “Leveling Up: Using A.I. Tools to Create and Brand a Worship Series”
"Leveling Up: 7 Ways to Increase Engagement in Hybrid Worship”
While there were plenty of early adopters of hybrid ministry before the pandemic, the vast majority of churches went online when COVID arrived. Moving into our third year of this new hybrid reality, it is imperative that we create engagement with our online worship experience. It is entirely possible and completely necessary to move those not gathered physically from being spectators to participants. In this session, author/hybrid ministry specialist Jason Moore covers seven ways to increase engagement for online participants, moving them from watchers to worshipers. Now is the time to level up your BOTH/AND experience.
“Leveling Up: Using A.I. Tools to Create and Brand a Worship Series”
Wondering how A.I. can help you take a worship series to the next level? From ideation, to sharpening your content; script and image generation, and even video production - A.I. can assist you in creating deep meaningful worship. In this two-hour workshop, author/coach Jason Moore will expose you to the most useful A.I. tools, show you how to use them, and will demonstrate how to create a worship series from scratch. We’ll explore the why, how and what of A.I. in this “over the shoulder” style interactive workshop.
Johannah Myers: "Leveling Up: Exploring the Messy Church Way"
Let's explore the Messy Church way. Learn the basic building blocks - the core values and key components - of Messy Church and consider how Messy Church might be adapted to your context.
Chris Morgan: “Leveling Up: Fresh Expressions to Culturally Connect and Engage”
"Relevance" is a word that's often overused. In order to culturally connect and engage you must be aware of what is going on around you. You need to know what's going on in the world, on the TV, in the movies, in podcasts, and on the radio. This is not about keeping up to be cool, you must be able to reach people where they are. Being aware isn’t limited to what is coming out of New York or Hollywood, you have to know what's going on in your community.
Once you know what is going on and understand the needs, be innovative and meet those needs. Don’t just name problems that you see, actively work to solve those problems by being flexible and adaptable. In the church it isn't a matter of if you are going to change, it's when and how. This session will prepare you for things that come your way.
Learn how to look ahead, work fast, communicate fast, and lead change with a positive attitude.
Kristopher Sledge: “Leveling Up in Community Ministry: Relationships and Partnerships”
This workshop will explore how a church can effectively connect with and build a meaningful, equitable, and collaborative community ministry framework. As we seek to level up in fresh expressions, we will unpack how one church continually seeks to learn and discover more about their neighborhood, and how this continual learning impacts how they structure, communicate, and live out community ministry in their building and city. The good, bad, and ugly will be shared to inspire all leaders to consider the important work of community ministry where real lives are being improved and Jesus is experienced in beautiful ways.
Joe Webb: “Leveling up Fresh Expressions: New Places • New People"
As leaders, one of the greatest challenges in forming new faith communities is separating our own desires and ideas from what people actually want and need. So how do we avoid imposing our personal preferences on the folks with whom we wish to create community?
In this breakout workshop, Rev. Joe Webb will walk you through the processes he used to evolve an informal pub theology group into a thriving online community for “spiritual exiles” by decentralizing leadership and deconstructing unhelpful paradigms. Participants will learn how creating an environment of ongoing experimentation empowers members of the community to share their own gifts and passions for the good of the whole, take ownership in the life of the community, and create generative new ministries within their own contexts.
Nathan Webb: “Leveling Up: Fresh Expressions in Digital Ministry”
According to Pew Research Center in 2021, over 85% of Americans use the Internet on a daily basis. Whenever we imagine the digital mission field, we are essentially declaring the whole world to be our intended audience for our community.
While the world may be our parish, it is essential to do the hard work of discerning where you should focus your time and energy in the digital marketplace. Should you stream on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch? Should you post content on TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts? This workshop, hosted by the planter of Checkpoint Church Nathan Webb, will break down the 'why' behind the platforms that you should be most focused on with your community. Expect to walk away from this workshop with a tangible to-do list for digital ministry foundation building.