Shady Grove United Methodist Church -- Mechanicsville
Sunday, April 18, 2021
growing together
NLI (Next Level Innovations) is a two to three year process that is bathed in prayer and will help our church move from good to great. The Richmond District of the UMC is investing their financial resources as well as time, staff, and energy into our church to help us deliver on our mission to reach out and serve all people as we grow in relationship with Jesus Christ and each other.  
Our Breakthrough Prayer
As our church stands on the busy corner of Meadowbridge and Shady Grove, so too we stand amidst the traffic and rush of daily life. God, break through the noise with new possibilities, hopes, and dreams for us and for our church. Lead us to the next best step. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Amen.
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How did NLI start?
NLI was born out of a combination of several successful United Methodist conference church initiatives (out of Northern VA and West Ohio). It worked so well and had so much momentum that the VA Conference has built a model around it.
Is NLI connected to General Conference?
No, NLI is not associated with General Conference or any decisions made at General Conference. NLI seeks to prep, train, and challenge local churches, like us, to reach the “next level” of our potential.
Why was Shady Grove chosen?
The Richmond District identified Shady Grove as a sizable church, ripe with opportunity and potential.
What is the NLI Leadership Team?
The NLI Leadership Team is a group of "Shady Grovers” who have answered the call to serve in guiding our church through the NLI process. Our Leadership Team includes Bobbie Sue Tunstall, Teri Snider, Carrie Lindley, Keri Marston, Nancy Walker, Bruce McNabb, Bruce Jones, Georgia Bates, Jeff Cox, Pastor Jay Kelchner, and Tyler Sinsabaugh.
What does the NLI process look like? 
The NLI journey has three phases:
Phase One (Fall 2019-Spring 2020) is essentially our prep phase which will include Shady Grove's prayer initiative and ministry focus event. The Ministry Focus event is the first official event for the whole church where each of you will be invited to come tell the NLI Leadership Team what you love about Shady Grove.
Phase Two (Spring 2020-Fall 2020) is where we ramp up and head into our NLI Innovations Weekend.
Phase Three (Fall 2020-Fall 2022) is where we put the ideas approved by the congregation, into action.
What makes this process different from other church planning or long range planning we have done in the past?   
While there are many similarities, there are a few ways that NLI will make the process seem different from previous planning.  The main differences involve prayer, participation, and accountability.   
Prayer -- As a congregation, we will implement a church wide prayer initiative.  This entire process was birthed and is bathed in prayer.  When the entire church is focused in specific conversation with God, powerful things happen. 
Participation -- Previously, planning and decision making has been done solely by the church leadership.  The NLI process is completely open to every church member.  All church members are encouraged to participate in all of the ministry events that will be held over the next year.  Church members will be invited to give their input, hopes, dreams, and feedback during our Ministry Focus Event in the spring of 2020 and our Innovations Weekend that will take place in the fall of 2020.  After the church and community data has been compiled and input has been gathered from church members, innovations will be presented to the church. These innovations are specific goals with action steps - a plan, so to speak, for our church to continue in its mission to reach people for Christ in our community.  A called church conference will be held to vote on the innovations (plans for the future) presented.  A church conference involves presentation and vote by the church membership, not solely the leadership.  
Accountability -- If the innovations are accepted by the church membership, then we will begin working to implement them.  Our NLI Mentor, Rev. Larry Davies, will help to hold us accountable so that we stay focused on our actions for implementation.  As a church involved with NLI, we will have resources and assistance (if we choose) from the District to assist us with implementation.  
How does our participation in the NLI process impact the things we are doing right now?   
We will continue our ministries and programs through the process as they are currently planned.  There will be specific dates in the spring and fall of 2020 that our church will have opportunity to come together to share ideas and give feedback to each other and our Weekend Innovations Team.  As soon as these dates are set, we will communicate them to the the congregation so all can plan accordingly.  There is time that Pastor Jay will be committed to working with our mentor, Rev. Larry Davies.  He and the NLI Team will be doing self-studies and reading books to help with facilitating this process.   As we move closer to our Innovations Weekend, which will be held in the Fall of 2020, the NLI Team and Weekend Planning Team will dedicate more time to planning for and implementing the weekend.  
How Can I Engage with the NLI Process?
  • Pray with the Leadership Team and for the Leadership Team.
  • Share your ideas. You can do this by reaching out to anyone on the NLI Leadership Team, drop a note in the suggestion box located at the Welcome Center, or send us an email to
  • Plan to participate in the Ministry Focus Event in the spring of 2020 and the Innovations Weekend in the fall of 2020. When these dates are set, we will communicate them to the congregation. 
 At any time, feel free to share your questions or concerns with the NLI team.  Simply email