Future of 'First Churches': Foundations, Partnerships and Legacies


Dr. Warren and Bishop Carter will build upon the work presented in their 2020 book Fresh Expressions of People Over Property and in supplemental materials to dream about the future of “First Churches.” The first session will focus on important ways that “First Churches” have served their communities and the roles that they have played. It will also plant the seeds to imagine ways that these churches can continue to be agents of transformation. The second session will build upon the first session and lay the groundwork for envisioning the future of First Churches.

Registration is required.

Rev. Dr. Warren is an ordained elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church and senior pastor at First United Methodist Church of Miami. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida Southern College, where she majored in Religion; a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School; and a Doctor of Ministry focusing on Children and Spirituality from Wesley Theological Seminary. A Florida native, Warren and her husband, Jose Luis, are active members of their very diverse downtown community in Miami. Flor.

Bishop Carter, resident bishop of the Western North Carolina and Florida Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church, is also serving as the bishop-in-residence at Duke Divinity, teaching on a limited basis as a consulting faculty member. He is the immediate past president of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church and was one of three moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward, the commission authorized by the General Conference in matters of unity and human sexuality. Carter is the author of ten books, including Fresh Expressions: A New Kind of Methodist Church co-authored with Warren (Abingdon Press, 2017) and Embracing The Wideness: The Shared Convictions of United Methodists (Abingdon Press, 2018). 

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at hfleming@wnccumc.net.


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.