Top 10 Means of Grace Episodes of All Time


Means of Grace, a podcast from the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, equips church leaders through expertise and examples. The podcast launched in October 2019, went weekly in October 2020, and hit 10,000 downloads in November 2020. We’ll be back on January 5, 2021 with new episodes but in the meantime, check out our top ten episodes by listener numbers.
  1. Grief at Christmas
    In this episode of Means of Grace, Director of Communications Melissa McGill sits down with Rev. Toni Ruth Smith to talk about experiencing grief in this time of great joy and how churches can create space for stillness, hope and even sadness in the midst of the holiday rush. 
  2. Border Pilgrimage
    On our first episode, Melissa and producer Andy Goh accompany a team from Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte on a pilgrimage to the US-Mexico border to walk alongside legal asylum seekers. Rev. Nathan Arledge and lay trip leader Maddie Myers share about the trip and the theology behind it. You'll also hear several first-hand stories from people seeking asylum, who we met at Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.
  3. Ignatian Examen Guided Meditation
    Dr. Melanie Dobson leads a practice of Ignatian Examen. This prayer was developed by Ignatius of Loyola for his fellow monks, the Society of Friends, in the mid-1500s. Ignatius thought that by the self-examination of times of desolation and consolation in a person’s life, they could see more clearly the presence of God at work.  This particular practice is adapted from Daniel Wolpert in his book, Creating a Life with God.
  4. Adaptive Leadership
    Jesse Enniss and Rev. Kim Ingram, from the Leadership Development Team, have a conversation with Rev. Lory Beth Huffman, Rev. Mark Key and Rev. Chris Westmoreland on adaptive leadership.  Each of these leaders has guided congregations of various sizes and contexts.  They share their experiences and learnings so that other leaders might connect and grow. They also talk about a program they facilitated in early 2020 called ADAPT: Leading Off the Map.
  5. Q&A with Rev. Amy Coles, WNCC Episcopal Nominee
    In this episode, Melissa sits down with Rev. Amy Coles, the Western North Carolina Conference Episcopal nominee, to talk about faith, her calling, and the future of the church.
  6. Being the Rural Church: The Vital Role the Church Plays in a Rural Community
    The Rural Church has a vital role to play during this current pandemic.  The nature of the rural church is built around relationships – relationships with church members, but also the community. Rural Churches have a unique opportunity to provide resources, connections, and hope during these stressful times.  This episode of the Means of Grace podcast features a conversation with three leaders who have experience and expertise in leading and understanding churches in rural areas - Rev. Allen Stanton, a clergy member of the WNC conference and the executive director of the Turner Center at Martin Methodist College in Tennessee; Rev. Santosh Niroula, the pastor of Fountain Hill and Mount Moriah United Methodist Churches in the Uwharrie District of WNC; Rev. Kristen Richardson-Frick, a clergy member of the SC conference and the Associate Director of the Rural Church Division at The Duke Endowment. They discuss the role of the church in a rural community and how it can build the kingdom through these connections.
  7. Welcoming Prayer Guided Mediation
    In this meditation, Rev. Ashley Pickerel Thomas leads the Welcoming Prayer, created by Mary Mrozowski.  According to Contemplative Outreach, the Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. The purpose of the Welcoming Prayer is to deepen our relationship with God through consenting in the ordinary activities of our day.
  8. Growing in Racial Awareness
    In this episode, Kim and Jesse speak with Rev. Rodvegas Ingram, pastor of Memorial UMC in High Point, Rev. Tom Latimer, pastor of Jamestown UMC in Jamestown, and Rev. Maria King, Church Vitality Associate, Northern Piedmont District about growing in racial awareness. 
  9. Spiritual Renewal Part 1
    In this two-part episode, Kim and Jesse talk with clergy and laity in Western North Carolina about the importance of taking time to “stay in love with God.”  Each one shares a particular spiritual practice or renewal opportunity that helps them stay connected and grow in a deeper relationship with Jesus. We hope that you will be inspired to make your own renewal and practices a priority.
  10. Mental and Spiritual Health: Body, Mind, Soul
    Director of Missional Engagement and Connectional Ministries Caroline Wood, and guests Rev. Eddie Ingram and Dr. Lori Dickson, explore how stress affects mental, physical, and spiritual health. Rev. Ingram explains the Enneagram types and helps us understand each type’s unique response to stress. Dr. Dickson shares the challenges and joys of serving as a general practitioner in a rural community lacking in mental health resources.

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
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