The New Beginnings Program

Overview of New Beginnings for an Individual Church

Including Outcomes for Each Step Along the Way

New Beginnings – offered by the Presbyterian Mission Agency


Phase One: Assessment (One Day)

Your assigned assessor spends a portion of that day with you, per the letter she or he will send to you.  You are expected to arrange for people to do the building tour, the community tour, the meeting to review finances and the calendar.  Your assessor meets with the pastor and the clerk over dinner and then either leads or takes notes at a feedback evening session with the congregation.  The presbytery is involved in finding a facilitator for that evening. The assessor then takes all he or she learned and goes home and writes your report.

Outcomes: Your New Beginnings report.


Phase Two: Leader Training (Four and a half hours)

The church will receive a little over four and a half hours of training. During this training we introduce you to the foundational concepts undergirding New Beginnings, teach you how to read your reports and how to plan for your small group meetings.  We spend a little time on leading change and leading small groups, but the majority of the time is on understanding the reports and the small group process itself. You want to have anywhere from 5 to 10 people to this – all of whom should be willing to consider being small group leaders for the next phase and/or serve on the team that will oversee the New Beginnings process.  This training is offered either by webinar (done over two consecutive weekday evenings) or for an additional fee, in person. The in-person training needs to happen all on one day but can be planned either for a weekday or possibly a Saturday or Sunday, depending on the church’s schedule and the availabilities of the trainers.

Outcomes:  Leaders ready to run the process plus your small group meeting process ready to launch.


Phase Three: Discernment (typically 6 weeks)

The House Meetings (small group meetings held in homes or at the church) should engage at least 50% of the worshipping congregation to discuss the report. The schedule for your House Meetings is determined by your church. Participants will engage the conversation to discuss what they believe is God’s mission for the church. Through conversations about these following questions, you will begin to name and claim what you feel God is calling you to do and be in your community.

Outcomes: A recommended decision for your church’s future from each small group.


Phase Four: Decision (usually takes a minimum of 6 weeks)

Each congregation does this step a little differently, but it is when you bring together the results of all the groups and make a decision together.  Typically the leaders of the small groups report pull together their results, report to Session and then make a report to the congregation.

Final Outcome:  A decision about the future of the congregation.