The 1991 Annual Conference created the Office of Congregational Development to:
- Serve as a resource to the Bishop and the Cabinet
- Coordinate conference planning for the re-formation of existing churches and creation of new ones
- Provide training, demographic information and consultation to local churches and districts
- Coordinate facilitators (consultation) ministry of the Annual Conference
- Provide administrative supervision for the Congregational Development Fund, and promote and interpret the fund
- Counsel churches about outside funding sources
- Assist district boards of Congregational Development
- Gather and distribute demographic data
- Assist the Conference Committee on Congregational Development and its task forces.
Facilitators are conference-trained clergy and lay people who assist churches with strategic planning. Consultations are provided by the director for Congregational Development. These include:
- Demographic information
- Facilities (expansion, renovation)
- 12 Keys to an Effective Church
- One-Hour Church Growth Consultation
- Assistance with grant applications
Community Demographic Summaries are available through the Office of Congregational Development.
Developing New Congregations
African-American Communities: Ten South Carolina counties do not have an African-American United Methodist church, and six have only one. We also have opportunities to start new congregations in cities such as Charleston and Columbia.
Other Ethnic Minority Populations: United Methodists in South Carolina face splendid opportunities to launch congregations and other ministries with Native Americans, with Hispanics and with Asian-Americans.
Those Living In Poverty: Our vision is that more and more persons living below the poverty level will find hope and strength in the fellowship of new and existing United Methodist churches.
Fast-Growing Communities: As our state’s population increases and becomes more urban, South Carolina United Methodists face untold opportunities to start new churches in suburbs and coastal communities.
The Office of Congregational Development assists churches and agencies in identifying appropriate sources of funds from the districts and from agencies of the Annual Conference and the General Church.