Equip your leadership. Live out your calling. Serve as a transforming community.

Equip your leadership. Live out your calling. Serve as a transforming community.

About the Program

This year-long process intends to support, challenge, and equip teams from each church to move to a deeper level of living out their mission.  The process will utilize a collaborative approach, building on questions, stories, and conversations to encourage creative thinking and courageous risk-taking.  We’ll learn from each another: from our failures and our successes.         

Throughout this process you will:

  • discover and develop the gifts within your congregation for vitality
  • be equipped and challenged to take risks for deeper ministry and mission
  • engage your local community in new ways


Congregational teams of 4-6 persons, including the pastor. A limited number of congregations will be accepted to this program.


Four weekend gatherings on-site in Portland, Maine, with coaching sessions and additional resources provided to each team between sessions.


  • October 19- 21, 2018 
  • January 25-26, 2019  [snow date February 8-9, 2019]
  • May 3-4, 2019
  • September 13-14, 2019


HopeGateWay (United Methodist community)
509 Forest Avenue, Portland, Maine


$2400 – apply by July 15th with at least ½ tuition upfront
$2600 – apply by August 15th with at least ½ tuition upfront
$2800 – apply by September 15th with at least ½ tuition upfront

  • Includes a light breakfast, a full lunch, and healthy snacks for all six days onsite, as well as all program materials, for the entire team. Also includes one site visit, as well as coaching between sessions, either by telephone or in person, to be arranged with the coach assigned to your team.
  • Church teams are responsible for dinners and overnight accommodations.

What people are saying:

"Our church had been through a number of visioning workshops where we asked each other what we wanted to do, and most of these initiatives fell flat after a few months or years. Growing With Hope uses a community-driven discovery and discernment model which challenges our church to listen to what God is calling us to do, very different from expressing our preferences and wants that are our traditional comfort zone. When we used the tools and techniques in our team to listen to the community around us, we saw real needs not being met — and for the first time in a long time, felt like we were doing God's work helping others in the way they needed help, not imposing ourselves on something that wasn't needed or wanted. What a difference this has made in our congregation! We are eager to continue the journey and see the amazing ways we will grow in faith for our members and the community around us!"

Rev. Mark, Brockmeier, Townsend Congregational Church, UCC, Townsend, MA


"Growing with Hope has helped the Main Street United Methodist Church, located in Nashua, NH, to think more clearly about the changes that have taken place in our cultural context while we ourselves are going through a period of significant transition.  We have been able to be more deliberative in thinking about our context as a downtown church and to think more creatively about how we can be the church of Jesus Christ in this setting.  Our Growing with Hope team would highly recommend this experience to any other church that is seeking to be authentic in its own unique context as well."  

— Rev. Rich Cullen, Main Street United Methodist Church, Nashua, NH


"The congregation of Hedding UMC in Barre VT recognized the need to do church in a new way, but just did not know how to start. We sent a team to Growing with Hope and learned new ways to understand our context and engage in mission and ministry with our community. Sharing the journey with other congregations inspired us to risk trying new things as we continue to discern God's call to us to do and be church in this time and place.

Rev. Kim E. Kie, Hedding United Methodist Church, Barre VT


"HopeGateWay in Portland, ME is an amazing place and people who are reinventing mainline Protestant ministry for a new generation. They are featured in the Pilgrim Press book We Refused to Lead a Dying Church. For any church team to sojourn with them for a time would be incredibly fruitful."

Paul Nixon, author, New Church Strategist with Path 1, and director of Epicenter Group