Revitalizing existing churches and starting new faith communities go hand-in-hand.

The most effective strategy for cultivating vital Christians in vital churches who are changing communities includes BOTH strengthening the vitality of our current congregations AND starting new faith communities in appropriate areas and contexts. In fact, recent research shows that churches which help to start new faith communities actually benefit from the experience. Churches which actively and intentionally support the planting of new faith communities normally experience an increase in Sunday worship attendance and Sunday School participation.

This is our current cultural reality in Northern Illinois:

  • On any given Sunday, less than 20% of the population in Northern Illinois is in a church service, according to the groundbreaking The American Church in Crisis (2009).
  • Mainline churches, included the United Methodist Church, are declining in their attendance percentage every year.
  • One out of six Americans indicate “non-affiliated” or “none” for their religious affiliation.
  • One out of every three young adults ages 18-29 indicate “non-affiliated” or “none” for their religious affiliation.

We do not have to choose between planting and revitalizing. We can do both. If we are to reach more people, more young people, and more diverse people, then we must plant new faith communities. In the Northern Illinois Conference, we believe in planting and revitalizing, and we are working and praying to be a Conference that does both with excellence.

For more information, visit:  
Are you called to plant a new faith community or a new ministry? Planting a new church requires careful planning, resourcing, and leadership. The Northern Illinois Conference has numerous resources and programs to help assess, equip, and resource our planters. Assessment is how we identify high-potential planters and locations for new faith communities.
Whether you are an individual or an existing church, please follow these steps of assessment for discerning your readiness to plant:  
New Faith Community Planting ProcessBefore you can launch a new faith community, you must complete the assessment process. The assessment process must be completed before you are ever assigned or appointed to a position. Click "Am I Ready to Plant?" for more information on assessment.      
  After being assigned or appointed, follow these steps as you prepare to launch the new faith community:
  • Read some of our RECOMMENDED BOOKS
  • Stay connected to PATH1
  • Ask your District Superintendent to call a CONSTITUTING CHURCH CONFERENCE
  • Celebrate the chartering of your new church!
  • You can DONATE TODAY. Most new faith communities do NOT receive funding from the Conference budget. Instead, funding comes from the Harvest 2.0 campaign, from partner churches, and from national grants. Help supporting planting in our Conference by making a pledge to the Harvest 2.0 campaign!



Xperience Church’s journey comes to a close

Two and a half years ago, Pastor Dwayne Grant and a team of committed supporters set out to plant Xperience church. The vision according to Grant was “to plant a socially relevant, mission oriented church in the Hillside/Bellwood community, African American based but with a multicultural, multigenerational, progressive and inclusive feel.” Pastor Grant received his…


The Net Church faces difficult decision

Church planting is more of an art than a science. Three ingredients for a successful plant are the right planters, in the right place, at the right time. But even then there is no guarantee that a plant will take root, and then it requires discernment and a healthy dose of courage from the planters…

Grace in Action Celebrations

Pastors from ICD Return from Florida Trip with Renewed Passion!

Some years ago, the Director of Congregational Development, Rev. Martin Lee, attended the Leadership Institute held at the church of the Resurrection UMC in Kansas. Jorge Acevedo, Pastor of Grace Church in Fort Myers, Florida, was one of the plenary speakers. As he spoke, Martin heard some familiar language in the principles he was delivering…

Celebrations - Dec 2013

Urban Village Church Designated “Large Impact Church”

Dear partners in ministry, This month, we visited Urban Village Church in Wicker Park, one of the New Faith Communities of the Chicago Northwestern District. Since this location launched its Sunday morning service 14 months ago, weekly attendance has nearly tripled! There is great joy and excitement as many young people and religious “nones” are…

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