Diocese of NY/NJ to host Church Growth Boot Camp

The Diocese of New York and New Jersey’s Commission on Missions and Evangelism will host a Church Growth Boot Camp at the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church here Monday through Wednesday, August 1-3, 2011.

The program, open to clergy and faithful from all dioceses and jurisdictions, will focus on training and equipping parish teams to understand, confront and address issues affecting parish health and decline and preparing them to take the necessary steps to bring their parishes back to good health and growth.

Established in December 2010 by His Grace, Bishop Michael, the Commission on Missions and Evangelism is headed by Archpriest Jonathan Ivanoff. Boot Camp is the first in a series of ministry offerings to address the second of a three-prong strategy for parish growth and health: “The commission will endeavor to create and aggressively offer adequate resources for those parishes that find themselves in numerical decline. This new ministry of parish health and revitalization will feature both short-term seminars/workshops and long-term solutions and approaches to clergy and laity concerned about the decline of their parish.”

Boot Camp themes will include Managing Change in the Parish, Clarifying Core Values, Focusing Parish Vision, Discovering Parish Mission, Mobilizing and Empowering Leaders and Teams, and Developing Ministry that Works.

Father Jonathan is among the program’s speakers.  He has been a coach and presenter for Orthodox Natural Church Development (ONCD) since 2003 and a presenter for the Church Multiplication Training Center and OCA “Boot Camp” from 1998 to 2002 and a member of the OCA’s Department of Evangelization since 2003. He is also a CoachNet Certified Coach and a member of NCD International’s Advisory Board. He has twice served on the board of the OCMC.

Among the other speakers are:

  • Archpriest John Reeves, a nationally known speaker on evangelism and Church growth, who served as the Director of the OCA Office of Church Growth and Evangelization from 1996 until 2002.  It was during his tenure that the original Church Growth Boot Camp was designed and launched, eventually training over 150 clergy and laypeople in over 40 parishes in the US and Canada.
  • Priest Sergius Halvorsen, who has served in parishes in the Diocese of New England since 2000 and is now also the Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Rhetoric at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, where he will also serve as Director of Field Education overseeing programs in prison, hospital, and parish ministry.  He also will be overseeing the seminary’s new D.Min. program.
  • Archpriest Alexander Atty, Dean of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, will be a featured speaker in the evening. Father Alexander was the pastor of a parish in Louisville, KY that grew exponentially during his tenure there, birthing several ministries and offspring missions during this time.

Bishop Michael will be in attendance at the conference for all three days.

Flyers, further information, learning objectives, agenda and workshop modules, and registration forms are available on the diocese’s web site at http://oncd.us/diocesenynj.html. The registration fee, which covers all lunches, materials and a welcome packet, is $99.00/per person before July 18, $124.00 after that date.  A block of 30 rooms has been reserved for three nights at the Laquinta Inn. Rooms are reserved under “Dormition Church” at the rate of $84.00/night. If indivdual priests have their own letter of tax exemption, Laquinta will honor that letter.