Frequently Asked Questions

Q:        Who should be on our church’s team?
A:         The most important qualities for team members are: individuals open to and supportive of change; people who are respected and/or have influence in your faith community; people who are open to new ideas; people who have leadership potential (even if they are not currently involved in a formal leadership role in your congregation). At least one member of the team must be an active member of the pastoral staff in your congregation.

Q:        Is it ok for us to bring a team with fewer than 4 or more than 6 people?
A:         We believe that, in order to effect change back in the local congregation and community, a church needs to have at least 4 people fully participating in this program as a team. The number is limited to 6 per team to ensure adequate resources and learning opportunities for all participating groups.

Q:        We have 4 paid staff people we’d like to send as a team. Are we required to have lay people on our team?
A:         No, there is no requirement that non-staff lay people be included on your team. We encourage teams to make thoughtful decisions about the best persons to include — particularly those who are most likely to effect change within the congregation.

Q:        We can’t come to the first (second/third) session. Can we still register?
A:         Attendance at all three sessions is required. If you know that your team will not be able to participate in one of the sessions, it would be better to wait and apply next year.

Q:        What’s included in the cost of registration?
A:         The cost of registration includes all program materials, light breakfast, lunch and snacks each day of the in-person gatherings, plus periodic coaching check-ins by a member of the Growing With Hope leadership team between sessions. Free parking is also provided at HopeGateWay for the daytime sessions and worship (Friday parking is at our satellite lot, which is an approximately 3-block walk).

Dinners and overnight accommodations are not included, though options for dinner outings will be arranged for teams who wish to participate.

Q:        A member of my team has food allergies. Can they be accommodated?
A:         Yes; once all teams are admitted and confirmed into the program, we will request additional information including any food allergies so we can plan provided meals accordingly.

Q:        Will childcare be provided?
A:         Unfortunately, no, we are unable to provide childcare during the sessions.

Q:        Where can we stay in Portland?
A:         Portland has a wide array of hotels and other lodging to suit every taste and budget. Click here for a list of hotels in the area.



Q:        What is the format of the weekend sessions?
A:         Each weekend session will be highly interactive, including activities to spark your creative side, work with your team and other teams, and hear from leaders with expertise in many diverse areas of church growth and vitality. Our intent is to send your team home from each session with ideas and tactics you can implement right away to help address your specific needs and challenges and engage with your community in new, exciting ways.

Q:        What will be expected of us between sessions?
A:         There will be assignments and recommended activities for each team to do at home between sessions. Your team will be assigned a coach from the Growing With Hope leadership team who will check in with you periodically to see how things are going, answer questions and provide appropriate guidance.

Q:        When will we know whether our team has been admitted to the program?
A:         Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and congregations will be notified within two weeks.

Q:        How many teams will be participating?
A:         We will admit a minimum of four and a maximum of eight teams.

Q:        Do we have to be United Methodist to participate?
A:         No — we welcome participation from communities of all faiths who are interested in growing the gifts within their congregation and who are willing to take risks in order to fulfill God’s calling.

Q:        Our church isn’t like HopeGateWay. Can we still benefit from this program?
A:         Absolutely! Each congregation is different. This year-long program will offer a process for change that can be applied in any context, not a model that must be duplicated to be successful.

Q:        When is payment due? What is your refund policy?
A:         Once a team has been accepted into the program, the first installment (1/2 of the price) is due. Once paid, this deposit is non-refundable.