Growing with Hope

About Growing With Hope

"Growing with Hope" is a year-long learning community for church teams offered by HopeGateWay, a United Methodist community in Portland, ME, in partnership with the New England Conference Office of Congregational Development. The 2016-2017 learning community cohort will convene in September.

Building upon the lessons they’ve learned, the mistakes they’ve made, and the ways they’ve grown, HopeGateWay leaders have developed this program to help local congregations, in their unique contexts, reflect upon their identity, embrace change, take risks, live out their calling, and serve God in new ways. 

This program is designed to support, challenge, and equip teams from each church to move to a deeper level of living out their mission. Throughout this process congregations will discover and develop the gifts within their congregation for vitality; be equipped and challenged to take risks for deeper ministry and mission; and engage their local community in new ways.

Paul Nixon, author, New Church Strategist with Path 1, and director of Epicenter Group, says: "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."

The process will utilize a collaborative approach, building on questions, stories, and conversations to encourage creative thinking and courageous risk-taking. Participating teams will learn from each another — from both failures and successes.         

Application process

Church teams of four to six persons each, including the pastor, are invited to apply to participate in the program. The deadline has been extended to July 1, 2016, and the first session is Friday to Sunday, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. A maximum of eight churches will be invited to participate. 

Learn more and apply at

Video reflections

Hear reflections from previous participants in this video message.


Here's what a couple of pastors who have completed Growing with Hope with their churches have said:
"Growing with Hope provided an answer to our prayers ... The congregation 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
“Growing with Hope has helped the Main Street United Methodist Church 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