Back to All Events

Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century Gathering

  • St. Peter's United Methodist Church 4509 Springdale Road Austin, TX, 78723 United States (map)

What if there was a place where predominantly and historically African-American congregations could go to get resources, ideas, and coaching that will help them become more effective disciple-making ministry and centers? What if joining this process could be unbelievably easy and affordable? And what if your church could join right now? Well, all of this is available through a single click, phone call or email to enroll your church as a “Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century” (SBC21) Partnering Congregation!
African-American United Methodist congregations often find it difficult to balance honoring their inherent cultures and adhering to the doctrines of the United Methodist Church while doing effective ministry in increasingly diverse mission fields. One of the initial symptoms that lead to the devastation of any congregation is the failure to discern its current reality. In helping Partnering Congregations understand their current realities, SBC21-assigned coaches help church leadership identify resources and programs that honor the culture of the African-American Church, while responding to real-world diversity and the multiculturalism that exist in every mission field.
The Rio Texas Black Church Development Design Team, our conduit to the SBC21 Program, will host a gathering of currently enrolled, prospective, and inquiring congregation representatives at St. Peter’s UMC (4509 Springdale Rd, Austin TX) on Saturday, August 19th, from 8:30am to 4:00pm.
To RSVP to this invitation to the event, you may follow this link to the online registration form: Please account for all persons attending, so that the Design Team can plan accordingly for lunch. Also, you may contact Eve Albert by email (

The agenda for this event will be as follows:

Learning Lab Sessions

Outreach Laboratory

New people in new places - Engaging in Missions
Lab Objective: 
To explore creative ways churches can see all the struggling people around them and help.             
Lab Description:  Participants will virtually walk through their neighborhoods to see and identify the people the church might engage. Ideas, tools, and resources will be given and explored for ways to become a more missional church.


Worship Laboratory

Inspiration and the Hope

Lab Objective: To explore creative ways churches can enhance worship experiences through mediums of the creative arts to uplift, inspire and give others hope through the movement of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
Lab Description: Two hours of experiential learning; discovering why and how creative elements can enhance worship experience.  To see worship settings beyond the building sanctuary and to present the worship design team concept.    
Designed for:  Musicians, Liturgical Dancers, Artists, Worship Leaders, Pastors, Interested Laity


Christian Education Laboratory

Small Group Development

Lab Objective: To explore creative ways churches can develop small groups to connect persons in their faith journeys, to expand Christian fellowship opportunities and expand Christian education beyond bible study and Sunday School or traditional methods.
Lab Description: Two hours of experiential learning; discovering the why and how to start and grow small groups in the community reaching new people in new places. Participants will leave with an action plan and tools to start and support small groups.
Designed for:  Clergy and Laity, Young Adults, Christian educators


[submitted by Ralph Thompson, Rio Texas Conference Lay Leader]


Earlier Event: August 17
8/17 IT Meeting (WR)