Bishop Leeland announces an appointment change to the Western North Carolina Cabinet


Bishop Leeland announces an appointment change to the Western North Carolina Cabinet, effective July 1, 2020.
Rev. Beth Crissman will be appointed as Senior Pastor of West Market Street United Methodist Church in Greensboro, NC. Beth has served as the District Superintendent and Chief Missional Strategist in the Blue Ridge District in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church since 2016. Prior to her appointment as District Superintendent, she pastored churches across the WNCC and with her husband Rev. Kelly Crissman served as the founders and directors of Plowpoint, a non-profit organization which trained teams of clergy and laity throughout the United Methodist Church for the transformation of leaders, churches, and communities. Beth is the author of four books: Longing to BelongHow We LeadStepping in the Stream, and Choosing the Faithful Path, and multiple other curricula to develop and strengthen disciples and leaders in the local church. Beth has served on several boards and agencies within the Conference and other United Methodist-related institutions including Equitable Compensation, Congregational Development, Givens Estates, and UNC-Asheville Wesley Foundation. Beth, a native of Graham, N.C. is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (BS Nursing), University of California-Los Angeles (MNursing-Family Nurse Practitioner), and Emory University (MDiv). She and Kelly have two grown children, James and Maddie.
Rev. Dr. Mark Ralls will be appointed as District Superintendent of the Blue Ridge District. Mark has served as Senior Pastor of First Hendersonville since 2015. He is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill (A.B., 1988), Duke Divinity School (M.Div., 1991) and Princeton Theological Seminary (Ph.D., 1999).  He has served Providence, Charlotte, St. Timothy Brevard, Epworth, Concord, Asbury First, Rochester, NY, Centenary, Winston-Salem.  Mark is the co-author of Is This All There Is?: And Other Big Questions About God and Life with Andy Langford. He is also active in Blue Ridge Emmaus and St. Baldrick's Foundation. Mark was born in Charlotte, NC into a parsonage family and lived in several mountain towns in Western North Carolina and attended high school in Asheville.  Mark worked on the summer staff of Lake Junaluska for seven summers. There, he met his wife Jennifer, daughter of Rev. Jimmy and Julia Jones (Florida Conference).  Jennifer is a School Psychologist with the Buncombe County School System.

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


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