Key NLI Events


The NLI events are gatherings where the church can come together to learn about the study, provide input on the vision for the future, and hear about the suggested Innovations.



1.  NLI Focus Groups for Youth, Young Adults, and Newcomers


Friday, January 25, 6:30pm-9:00pm, Corry Hall    

Share your experiences at Clarendon UMC and your vision for the future via facilitated conversations. Enjoy some pizza!                             

  • Youth (6th-12th grade)

  • Young adults (up to age 35)

  • Newcomers (began attending Clarendon UMC in last 5 years)



When: Friday, January 25, 6:30pm-9:00pm, Corry Hall

Who: Youth, Young adults, and Newcomers.

Dinner & childcare provided


2.  NLI Church-Wide Workshop


Saturday, January 26, 9:30am-3:30pm, Corry Hall             

Our goal is to pack the room! Other churches consistently report that this is an energizing event and well worth the time to attend. We want all “hands on deck” for this event!

  • Learn about the extensive NLI study of our church history, finances, programs, attendees, neighborhood demographics, etc.

  • Hear what visitors have experienced through “mystery worshipper” reviews

  • Learn about trends in the broader Christian church

  • Receive training on how to tell faith stories

  • Contribute your thoughts on the future vision for CUMC


event details

When: Saturday, January 26, 9:30am-3:30pm, Corry Hall

Who: All those who attend Clarendon UMC.

Lunch & childcare provided

3.  NLI Combined Sunday Worship


Sunday, January 27, 10:00-11:30am

  • Hear a guest preacher, the Rev. Dr. Rhonda VanDyke, a leader in the Virginia Conference of the UMC.

  • Hear the NLI “Weekend Innovations Team” present the Innovations Report to our congregation.

event details

When: Sunday, January 27,

Who: All those who attend Clarendon UMC.

Childcare provided


4. NLI Town Halls


Sunday, February 3, 9:45-10:45am, Corry Hall

Wednesday, February 6, 7:30-8:30pm, Corry Hall

Sunday, February 17, 9:45-10:45am, Corry Hall

The NLI Town Halls are opportunities to ask questions and reflect together on the Innovations Report.

event details

When: February 3, 6, and 17
Corry Hall

Who: All those who attend Clarendon UMC.

5.  NLI Church Conference (congregational vote)


Tuesday, February 19, 7:30-8:30pm, Corry Hall

Vote whether to adopt the Innovations.

Only Clarendon UMC members are allowed to vote, but anyone is welcome to attend.

event details

When: February 19, 7:30-8:30pm, Corry Hall

Who: Clarendon UMC members (voting); All those who attend Clarendon UMC (observation)


NLI Frequently Asked Questions


What does the NLI process look like? How far along are we?

Over a year ago, the District Superintendent identified CUMC as a church with capability and potential to reach more people in its community. We were invited to enter the NLI process, which has 3 phases:

  • Phase 1: Training & Resourcing (completed) Pastor Tracy received training in areas like leading change, breakthrough prayer, visioning for change and aligning with staff and laity, stewardship of resources, etc. alongside clergy of other churches.

  • Phase 2: Self Study & Innovations Weekend (June 2018 - January 2019) The purpose of the self-study is to gather information about our church and share with the NLI staff who will analyze it. Our Innovations Weekend is the time when the church can come together to learn about the study, provide input on the vision for the future, and hear about the suggested Innovations.

  • Phase 3: Living Out Innovations (future) This phase is when CUMC will work to execute the Innovations, should we vote to adopt them.

Who is involved in NLI? And what do they do?

  • Clarendon UMC NLI Team (4 people): The role of our church’s NLI team is to conduct a church self-study and to help organize the Innovations Weekend (January 2019) where the real action happens. Our NLI team includes Nii Armar, Gary White, Kevin Sweeney, Erin White, and Pastor Tracy.

  • NLI “Weekend Innovations Team” (8 people): The “Weekend Innovations Team” is a group of experienced, trained United Methodist staff and pastors from around our region who are facilitating our NLI process and writing the Innovations Report. 

  • Clarendon UMC attendees and members (everyone!): The entire church is invited to participate in the Innovations Workshop, and members can vote to adopt the suggested Innovations.

Who decides what the Innovations are?

The Weekend Innovations Team will create the suggested Innovations based on the research about CUMC, our neighborhood, experience of other churches, and the congregation’s visions, concerns, and goals for the church shared during our January 26 workshop.

Who gets to decide if we adopt the Innovations?

CUMC members, and CUMC members alone, decide if we adopt the Innovations at Church Conference on February 19th. To pass, the entire report must be approved by 70% of the members present (i.e., those who vote). Before that conference, we will have a period of prayer and discernment, including three Town Hall meetings, giving us a chance to reflect on and ask questions about the Innovations.

What happens if CUMC adopts the Innovations?

The real work of innovation begins. Church, clergy, mentors, and NLI staff resource persons work together to accomplish the Innovations outlined in the Innovations Report.  This process will continue for approximately 18 months.


Clarendon United Methodist Church is nestled in the heart of the Ashton Heights neighborhood of Arlington, VA. It has an active congregation of families, young professionals, older adults, children, and youth who are striving to become disciples of Jesus Christ.  We have committed to praising God passionately through our worship, serving others in Christian love, deepening our faith through the study of God's Word, the Bible, and proclaiming the Good News that is our salvation in Jesus Christ.  We strive to live out our faith, acting with Christian love, respect and forgiveness toward one another, and recognizing that we are all members of one body of Christ.