NLI, short for Next Level Innovations, is a multi-year, 3 phase journey covered in prayer and focused on moving a church from Good to GREAT. St. Mark’s UMC has been chosen by the District to participate in NLI because of our health, coachable leadership, and desire to build on what God is doing. This is a process of self-reflection that culminates in a weekend where an outside group of clergy and laity meets with the church to listen and understand St. Mark’s and review our self-study in order to make recommendations that will help us build on what God is doing here.

Breakthrough Prayer
We hope you will join us for our NLI Breakthrough Prayer at 10:10 (am or pm) each day. This time is selected from John 10:10, which states, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Dear God, may your Holy Spirit fall on us like a mighty rushing wind, opening our eyes to see the wonders you are already doing in our church and community. Remove our current limitations that prevent us from being the Church that you desire us to be. Fill our hearts with awe, like the first disciples. Help us discern the work that you are calling us to do so that we can be the Church to all people. AMEN. (based on Acts 2)


We are in Phase 3 of the NLI journey, in which the church begins living out the innovations shared, discussed and voted on by the congregation. It is an exciting time for the church as it seeks to make an impact on the community around us as well as build the body of Christ already in our midst. It is a time of looking ahead to where God is calling our church.

70+ people are eagerly volunteering their time & energy to the 4 different NLI Task Forces: GROW, LIVE, LOVE & RESOURCE. Each team is co-chaired by a member of the existing St. Mark’s NLI team and at least one other member of the congregation. Please keep all of these folks in prayer as they meet and work diligently over the next couple months to discern where God is calling St. Mark’s in 2020.


On Sunday, November 24, there were 185 people in attendance with 175 who were eligible to vote as professing members of our church. The NLI Innovations motion passed with 82% voting in affirmation to move forward. Thank you for the ways in which you as a church have engaged so fully in this discernment process these last 18 months. You have prayed, participated in learning sessions and retreats, attended and communicated fully in Town Halls, and shown up to bring your voice and vote. This has been an excellent example of how Christian community can embrace God’s plans for the future with grace and truth-filled presence and love.

Who’s on the NLI Team?


Stay tuned for further updates and ways to support this effort, and don’t forget: pray & pray some more! As always, we are grateful to our faithful St. Mark’s family as we work together to fulfill God’s dreams for the church, community and world.