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New Beginnings

New Beginnings

What is New Beginnings?

  • A way for presbyteries or individual congregations to envision a new future for their churches.
  • It is both an assessment and a process:
    • As an assessment, it provides congregations with information about their church and community, including a building inspection, a financial review, detailed demographic information and much more.
    • As a process, it helps churches use that information to discern a new future story for the congregation.
  • While the program is primarily geared to churches in significant decline, it is also helpful for churches who simply feel ‘stuck’ in their present situation.
  • Over forty PC(USA) churches are already involved in the program—some of which have already decided on a new beginning!
  • Future stories come in many forms, including mission redevelopment, relocation, a full restart, or the possibility of leaving a legacy.

Does your church need a new future story? Find more complete information here. Listed below are several resources that will guide you through the details of the program.

To begin the process of enrollment, or if you have any questions, please contact Alicia Demartra-Pressley.

For information about how to plan for the timing of the program, please refer to our timelines for presbytery clusters or individual congregations. To see a sample of the congregational report from a generic church, please see the PC(USA) Sample Report

For more comprehensive information about the process, please refer to our Program Details for Presbyteries or Program Details for Congregations resources. 

Some frequently asked questions are listed below. These are supplemental questions to the complete New Beginnings FAQ. Please contact our office if you have any further inquires.

  1. What is the New Beginnings Assessment Service?
  2. What does it cost?
  3. Is this a good value? Why isn’t it a free service?
  4. What happens if we can’t afford it?

What is the New Beginnings Assessment Service? 
New Beginnings is a process that guides congregations that are “stuck” towards formulating a new direction or plan that will carry them into the future. Unlike some assessment services, New Beginnings does not tell a congregation what it should do. Instead, it paints a realistic and full picture of its present condition and offers ideas to prime the imagination of the congregation so that, in the end, the congregation can discern the commitment they feel called to embrace—a kind of ‘macro’ decision about what God is leading them to do. More information is available here.

What does it cost?
$3,800.00 for an individual congregation. A minimum of two congregations may group together within their presbyteries for $2,800.00 each.

Is this a good value? Why isn’t it a free service?
In order for the service to be effective, there must be a certain level of “buy-in” by the congregation, so to speak. The funds collected go directly to covering assessor travel expenses and purchasing the materials needed by the congregation through the program. The overall cost of the service is pre-subsidized by the PC(USA) Office of Transformation.

Additionally, hiring a consultant firm can range in cost from $7,000—$10,000, including travel, materials, etc. The New Beginnings process is made from the start to be a great, affordable value for struggling congregations.

What happens if we can’t afford it?

This is a very common situation. Presbyteries can step in to assist in the cost. A few presbyteries have been known to ask churches to pay a per-member fee (usually $1-$5) before picking up the rest of the cost. Others have found alternative sources of funding.