Gloria Fowler helps churches hit restart.
While living in an ethnically diverse neighborhood for 17 years, Gloria realized that the cultural makeup of the neighborhoods was not reflected in the congregations. That triggered her desire to plant, transition and grow multi-ethnic churches. As the Director of Congregational Transformation and New Church Development in the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC), Gloria transforms congregations to reach people for Jesus Christ in their communities.
“Churches need to reflect their community and become ethnically diverse,” Gloria said.
After graduating from Asbury Seminary with a D.Min. degree in 2015, Gloria requested an inner-city church to help that congregation become multi-ethnic. Instead, she was appointed to the office to multiply her knowledge across the entire conference.
“I could have done it in just one church by myself, but now I get to multiply my knowledge with so many churches,” Gloria said.
Gloria provides resources, workshops, consultations, and coaching to help churches not just survive, but thrive. Her goal is to educate and inspire pastors and laity to reach their communities for Jesus Christ and to replicate their models and methods in new churches.
This process includes an evaluation of the church’s ministry as a whole, including discipleship, leadership, statistics, finances, and a study of the history and demographics of the church’s mission field. Gloria finds that many times the laity are not educated in ways to reach their community.
“The way we do ministry in each context has to be different,” she said. “Whether urban or rural, people still need to be reached where they are.”
Gloria has been in her role in Louisiana for only four months, but she did similar work for five years in the North Texas Conference as an associate director.
Many of her churches have stories like that of one small congregation in North Texas. First United Methodist Church of Alvord, Texas, wondered if they were going to survive. The church went through the congregational transformation process and discovered needs within their community and ways that they could meet them. One of those ways was an afternoon program for children.