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What is NLI?

NLI is a 2-3 year program that has multiple components, beginning with establishing a firm foundation of reliance on breakthrough prayer.  Year one calls on our congregation, with guidance from the NLI team, to engage in active participation while...


  • 1) praying to help discern God’s vision for our church, 

  • 2) identifying our strengths and weaknesses, 

  • 3) engaging in the work of God through missions-focused events, and 

  • 4) working toward and participating in our Innovations Weekend at the end of year one, when the recommended Next Level Innovations will be revealed. 


If approved by the congregation at Innovations Weekend, years 2 and 3 will entail implementation of LUMC’s Innovations with the help of, and guidance from an outside clergy member who will serve as our Innovations coach.  


“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  - Jeremiah 29:11-13

Why is LUMC participating in NLI?

As a congregation and as individuals, we have been praying for a long time for God to help our church recognize God’s vision for us and to inspire us to carry out the work God is calling us to do.  We believe NLI will provide a vehicle through which God can speak to us and use us to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”  - Matthew 6:10


“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  - Matthew 7:7-8

How does NLI work?

During year one (2020), there will be:

  • monthly clergy training, 

  • two to three laity training events (e.g. Breakthrough Prayer conference),  

  • church-wide missions events, 

  •  in-depth congregational self-study of our church’s strengths and weaknesses, 

  • an Innovations Weekend consisting of congregational “town hall” meetings and data analysis led by the Innovations Team.  The Innovations Team will then prepare and present a detailed report with recommendations for innovations specifically tailored to address discerned needs at LUMC and in our community.


During year 2 and 3, if the recommended innovations are approved by the congregation, they will be implemented with the assistance of an outside clergy member serving as our Innovations Coach.


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” - Proverbs 3:5-6

How was LUMC selected to participate?

Medium and Large churches (as defined by average weekly worship attendance) with a recognized potential and desire for reaching more people in their community have been offered the opportunity to participate in NLI.  LUMC has been identified by our district as a church with great gifts and talents, that is a beacon of light in our community, and that possesses a tremendous desire to carry out God’s command to make disciples of Jesus Christ.


“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  - Matthew 28:19

What will be the outcome?

As we enter NLI 2020, we do not know what Innovations will be revealed and recommended for our church at the conclusion of year one.  But, we know that God hears and answers our prayers, and the NLI process will certainly work for the good of the Lord. We believe that through NLI, each member of LUMC who participates will enhance their relationships with God and with other members of our church, and that we, as a church, will make a bigger impact in the name of Christ than ever before!


“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” - 1 John 5:14


“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  - Romans 8:28

What do I have to do?

Commit to prayer. 

You will be asked to participate in the church’s breakthrough prayer initiative, fervently seeking God’s inspiration and intercession in our lives, and in the life of LUMC.   “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6  Pastor Brandon will lead a sermon series on breakthrough prayer and the NLI team will help guide you through NLI’s breakthrough prayer schedule and events.   


Commit to the work of the church and actively seek ways to participate in the NLI process. 

The NLI team will need your help to carry out the phases of year one that will culminate in the revelation of the recommended Innovations for LUMC.  They will seek your participation in mission events, in prayer services, and in the introspective study of our church through interviews and/or surveys of church members.

Commit to actively participate in LUMC’s Innovations Weekend. 

The Innovations Weekend, which will be October 16-18, 2020, occurs at the culmination of year one of NLI.  Please mark that weekend on your calendar and commit to participate in the Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning events planned for that weekend.  On Sunday morning of that Innovations Weekend, that LUMC’s Innovation plan will be unveiled to the congregation.  Over the next month, we will host town halls to explain the innovations.  Ultimately, we will hold a church conference to vote on the innovations, which will require a 70 % super majority vote from those present in order to approve the plan.    


“I desire to do your will my God; your law is within my heart.”  - Psalms 40:8  


“Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?  I have heard you calling in the night.  I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.”  - Here I Am, Lord by Dan Schutte.

What is the timeline of events?

We are embarking on the NLI 2020 journey with the idea being that we will follow wherever and whenever God leads.  That said, the anticipated timeline for LUMC’s NLI process will be:

  • January – March 2020:  Breakthrough Prayer Initiative

  • April – September 2020:  LUMC Reflections/Self Study

  • September – December 2020:  Innovations Weekend

  •  2021 – 2022:  Implementation of Innovations, if approved by congregation


“For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.” – Psalms 48:14

I like things the way they are. Why do we need "innovation?"

When each of us committed to be a follower of Jesus Christ, we committed to an everlasting journey.  Our growth was not completed the moment we put our faith in Christ, but would be ongoing.  So too, the growth of our church, and our pursuit of God’s vision, is an ongoing process. There is always room to grow!

Our church, as a body of Christ’s followers, is called to strive each day to obey Christ’s commands of loving God, loving neighbors, and making disciples. We must not get comfortable or satisfied with our works, for it is in that moment that our growth will stall.  We will become complacent and subject to the warning of Jesus: “since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:16).   We should remain steadfast in our efforts to seek new ways of reaching those who are hurting, who are devoid of hope, and who desperately are in need of the Good News that we have to offer them in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this is mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” – Ephesians 6:18


“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:15-16

What about the vision sessions we had last summer?

That's a great question!

We see NLI as an answer to the prayers we were asking during this vision sessions.  Throughout those brainstorming sessions, we were asking God to help reveal a vision for our church.  We believe that NLI will help us to do just that.

The vision sessions last summer helped get us thinking about God's vision for our church.  Our prayer is that NLI will help us to discern exactly what that is.