Kentucky Conference Well Represented at Church Planter Orientation

December 28, 2010

The New Church Leadership Institute was held November 9-11 in Richmond, Va., and ten persons from the Kentucky Conference participated. The purpose of this annual leadership event is to provide an opportunity for persons to explore the ministry of church planting.

Throughout the process, persons are led in a discernment process. Utilizing the DiSC leadership profile, a Team Profile, along with a gifts assessment and church planter self assessment, participants are guided in reflection about what it means to be a church planter.  The purpose of the event is to enable participants to gain clarity around God’s call upon their lives, to review one’s own gifts for ministry, and to take time away to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Participants also reflect on their “affinity groups,” persons and mission areas to whom they are attracted and vice versa. This self-discovery explores what settings and with what people groups one might be best gifted to plant a church.

The training was led by Rev. Jim Griffith, who has planted four churches and serves as a coach and consultant with several annual conferences. 

Attending from the Kentucky Conference were Mark Windley and Chris Campbell, Louisville District; Derek Robinette, Frankfort District; and John Carter, John Hatton, Aaron and Jessica Mansfield, and Jill and Ken Ruhl, Lexington District. Tom Eblen, New Church & Congregational Development Director, accompanied the group.

The church planters training event concludes with the writing of a self-reflective essay that incorporates all components of the training. Through this discernment process, some persons choose to further pursue the church planters’ assessment process with the annual conference. The event provides an opportunity for all participants to gain a better perspective of the need for church planting in our United Methodist Church, as we rediscover what it means to be a missional church in outreach to all people.  

Persons feeling called to become a church planter should discuss this calling with their district superintendent, as well as schedule time with the NCCD Director Tom Eblen ( to inquire about the planter assessment process. Persons may also go online at to complete an initial planter’s assessment, as well as a gifts inventory.

Front row, left to right: Jill Ruhl, Jessica Mansfield (holding Nadia), Aaron Mansfield
Back row: John Carter, Ken Ruhl, John Hatton, Mark Windley, Derek Robinette, Chris Campbell, Tom Eblen