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Road Trip with Roadmap to Renewal

by Rev. Douglas Ruffle

Doug Ruffle and workshop participants.
Doug Ruffle may not be in a van but he is taking these people on a road trip nonetheless.
Image by: GBGM Administration
The cover to the book Roadmap to Renewal features a seemingly endless stretch of asphalt highway.
Roadmap to Renewal is intended to guide congregations to understand mission in new ways.
Image by: Mission Education

Picture yourself joining seven to twelve others from your church on a road trip in a van.

The team starts out knowing that they want to arrive at a destination that is better than the current reality of their community of faith. Along the way they converse with each other. They get out of the van and talk to people in their area about community needs. They visit other churches to learn what has made them healthy and vital. They rediscover their church setting and discern what God is calling their church to be and to do at this point in time.

The Roadmap Team rediscovers who they are and who lives in the surrounding community, and gains a fresh vision for the mission to which God invites them. The team members end up with their own drafted roadmap for future ministry--a map that will set the vision, mission, goals, and objectives for their church for the next several years.

This is how the Roadmap to Renewal: Rediscovering the Church's Mission works. The past year, Roadmap to Renewal was published by the General Board of Global Ministries through the Academy of Mission Renewal. Roadmap to Renewal is a paperback book that provides an easy-to-follow process for rediscovering and revitalizing the mission of the church. The academy continues to bless many churches in the United Methodist connection through its written resources.

A separate study guide provides a complete outline for ten sessions to get to the vision, mission, and Ministry Action Plan for the church. The study guide includes helpful supplemental resources, including a sample announcement to the church about the Roadmap process as well as a commissioning liturgy for the Roadmap Team. The study guide is available for a free download from the Academy of Mission Renewal website.

In the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, several churches engaged in the process of taking an honest look at their mission by reading and implementing Roadmap to Renewal. The churches also followed the study guide.

The Bishop Janes United Methodist Church in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, completed the Roadmap process in July. They came up with new vision and mission statements and a Ministry Action Plan to carry them forward for the next three to five years. They agreed to allow the results of their work to be posted on the author's website as an example of the kind of plan that can be put together for a local church. (Go to and click on the PDF file listed on the left side of the screen.)

In these changing times, it is important that local churches have a plan. Bishop Janes UMC found Roadmap to be the right tool to help them plan for the future.

St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Willingboro, New Jersey, is using Roadmap to Renewal to articulate a new plan of ministry as they celebrate their fiftieth anniversary.

Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Oaklyn, New Jersey, decided to use the Roadmap process so that they can be intentional about making connections to their surrounding community.

The revitalization of churches is key to the ongoing mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Global Ministries' Roadmap to Renewal is a resource that will help a church have a plan for that mission.

The United Methodist Church has articulated four areas of focus to live out its vision of ministry in the coming years. The Academy of Mission Renewal and the resources it offers to local churches form part of Global Ministries' response to the area of focus that creates new places for new people and revitalizes existing congregations.

To learn more about renewing your church's mission, go to:

Rev. Douglas Ruffle is with the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference Office of Congregational Development and the author of Roadmap to Renewal: Rediscovering the Church's Mission, published in 2009 by the General Board of Global Ministries for the Academy of Mission Renewal. His website is:

See Also...
Topic: GBGM programs United Methodist Church Focus on Congregational Development
Geographic Region: United States
Source: GBGM Mission News

arrow icon. View Listing of Missionaries Currently Working in: United States   

Date posted: Mar 25, 2010