The Reaching New People training has helped our congregation focus on building relationships with new people outside the walls of our church. Coach Paul Nickerson has provided numerous ideas for connecting with the community in each season of the year. The monthly coaching calls keep us focused on our goals and hold us accountable for putting them into action. Reaching New People has provided a “power boost” to our church.
Rev. Susan Maddox
St. Paul United Methodist Church, Saluda, SC
Rev. Paul Nickerson leads and teaches with a heart of God. He has been working with our church for over two years helping us write goals, vision statements, strategic plans and stewardship plans. Every step that Paul has walked us through has proven to be beneficial in helping or church increase their giving, be relevant to our community and reach new people for Christ. Rev. Kimberly Arbaugh- Carrollton First UMC
Before working with Paul Nickerson, we focused our efforts on the needs and social lives of our congregation. We were flummoxed and despairing that new people weren't flocking through our doors.
After working with Paul, we understood that we needed to get out in our community. It was scary at first, putting ourselves out there. Now, however, we happily participate in all our town's events such as the Halloween parade, the art festival, and the dog festival. We even host one ourselves -- a free Fat Tuesday pancake dinner for families and seniors. And every summer, on the steps of our church, we put pots of herbs and prayer rocks with a sign, "Take What You Need." It's a happy and welcoming sight.
Paul helped us live out God's welcoming word in our community. He gave us the research, the tools and lots of enthusiastic encouragement to try. We now host photo booths all year 'round and have gained a reputation as a warm and friendly church. Our town has noticed, and we are seeing fresh faces in our pews.
Paul Nickerson put First Parish Church on the right track!
Mary Ellen Cook and Allison Moir-Smith
Co-Chairs, Vitality Committee
First Parish Church, Congregational
"Reaching New People" has completely turned around our way of "reaching out to people." We can no longer wait for people to come to our churches, so now we know we need to go to them - to take Christ to the people which is exactly what Jesus did. This course/experience has changed our way of thinking in order to make our evangelism and outreach practical. We now have a more praxis-type outreach program in our church.
Rev. Randall Haase, Grace UMC, North Augusta SC
We have worked with Paul Nickerson on Reaching New People and to develop a fresh vision for our church. Paul is cheerful, an optimist for the church, and a steady companion as congregations navigate the changes necessary to thrive in the 21st century. We appreciated the many practical and creative ideas to implement alongside his steady encouragement. Thank you, Paul! Rev. Stacy Emerson, First Baptist, West Hartford CT.
The Reaching New People program has been truly transformative for our congregation and we would strongly recommend it to any other church as money, time and effort well invested. And it is very important to see it as an investment; it is not a magic pill that will transform your church overnight. But putting in that financial, time and effort investment and "staying the course" not only brought in new people to our church, but also changed both how our community viewed our church and how we viewed ourselves. Paul's instruction, encouragement and coaching pointed us in the right direction and encouraged those who had difficulty with change to see how our church could blossom and move from being stuck do being a force for change within and beyond our walls. We are overjoyed to say that in the course of the one year we have been participating in this coaching, 29 new people become actively engaged in our congregation (in addition to the 8 children they brought with them), of which, 9 have already joined the church as members and 3 more will be joining shortly. In addition, our church budget ended the year “in the black” for the first time in many years. That is a great return on investment by anyone’s reckoning.
Rev. Ruth E. Gallot, Pastor
Longmeadow Congregational Church, UCC in Auburn, NH
Working with Paul Nickerson has been a blessing for our church. God has used him to help move us toward an outward focus of ministry immersed in our community. Through continued coaching, our leaders have maintained a long term focus on relational evangelism, and his encouragement and ideas have been a boost. Relational ministry has a long view in mind, and the continued coaching has been vital to sustaining that effort. It has been a joy to see God at work in our midst, growing the congregation - and growing us as disciples within this community that we love!
Rev. Emily Moore-Diamond, Warsaw UMC, Warsaw, VA.
As the Director of Congregational Development for the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church since 2011, I have found Paul Nickerson to be a very valuable resource both for starting new faith communities and offering renewal efforts for existing churches. Paul brings a wealth of experience as a pastor, as a conference level congregational developer and more recently as a workshop leader and coach. He has continued to keep abreast of current literature and practice for doing this important work in today’s post-Christian culture.
Rev. Mark Ogren, Virginia UMC Conference
Paul Nickerson's presence with our community of faith as a coach has been a transforming and renewing experience. His guidance has had the effect of a breath of fresh air--in this case, fresh winds of the Holy Spirit--helping our congregation to unlock the mysteries of building church vitality and effective church presence out in the world in this day and age. The approaches he teaches are not only effective in touching the lives of previously "un-churched" folks in the community, they are energizing, faith-deepening--and in many cases, downright fun--for the long-time church members and the minister. I recommend wholeheartedly Paul's work to any congregation seeking to increase in its relevance and capacity for faithful service.
Rev. Mary James
First Congregational Church, UCC, Wakefield NH.
Thanks so much for coming to the Farmville District! I can honestly say this is the best workshop I have attended in my almost 36 years of ministry. I am excited about our churches who will be coached in the coming year. I expect great fruitfulness from these churches and thanks for your leadership
Rev. Robert Parks, District Superintendent, Virginia UMC Conference
Paul is just fun to work with! He has been more like a partner in ministry than a coach. With extreme patience, a good sense of humor and a deep awareness for how to be adaptive in ministry, he brings hope to those who are charged with bringing hope to their communities!
Rev. David McPherson, Minister for Church Development, Desert Southwest UMC Conference
I have read dozens of books on church vitality, been to scads of conferences and worked with multiple coaches. Paul is simply the best: practical, knowledgeable, kind and optimistic. If you listen to him, you will get results. Paul was our growth coach at First Church Somerville UCC and his early tutelage has netted us a fivefold increase in worship attendance and pledged giving, and an exponential increase in joy--this, in one of the toughest town around where mainline Christianity is concerned. God is good! And so is Her servant Paul. Rev. Molly Baskette, First Church, Somerville, MA.
“Since working with Paul, our church has experienced “holistic” growth. Not only have we added new members engaged through various means of outreach encouraged by Paul, but we have also been building relationships in our community which have increased our church’s visibility and viability in town. Our hope for the future of the church has grown as well!”
-Rev. Josh Fitterling
First Congregational Church UCC of Wiscasset, Maine
The pulse of the Church, the Body of Christ, is discipleship. Paul Nickerson's guidance as coach and the Reaching New People program has affected the entire atmosphere at First United Methodist Church, Buckhannon, West Virginia and reinforced the vital richness of our relationship with God and being followers (disciples) of Jesus Christ. Through Paul's enthusiastic leadership as our coach, the church and our discipleship are re-energized to find ways to reintroduce ourselves to our neighborhood and community, and to build new and different relationships that prayerfully will nurture new disciples.
Rev. Steve Meadows, First UMC, Buckhannon, WV
Paul is a dynamic speaker and wonderful presenter of the material. This is not a cookie cutter approach by any means. Churches get to personalize what Paul brings to the individual needs of the congregation. He’s helped out church change our way of thinking about reaching others. For so many years we have been on survival mode knowing that something had to be done, but not knowing where to begin. “New People” has given us the tools to finally break free and move forward.
Rev. Miriam Baez, Quaker Hill American Baptist Church, CT.