Next Level Innovations!


NLI (Next Level Innovations) is a two to three-year process that is bathed in prayer and helps churches move from good to great. The Elizabeth River 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

Lord Jesus, we seek your will. 

Break through our lives and fill us with your power and love.

Transform us.

Lead us to courageously serve as your disciples.


Our new NLI Leadership Board has started meeting!  To read more about this board, who serves on it and how it works, click HERE.




Background from 2020

FAQ's About the NLI Process

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 the General Conference and upcoming decisions related to The United Methodist Church?

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 Courthouse Community UMC chosen?

The Elizabeth River District ( identified Courthouse Community UMC as a church with the potential to reach more people for Christ!  In 1986, when our church was planted, the conference sent a pastor to plant a church here because the area was ripe for growth. Our church is located in the heart of Virginia Beach and has a heart for our city.  We have been identified as a healthy and vital church that is ready to take our mission and ministry to the next level. 


What is the NLI Leadership Team?

The NLI Leadership Team are members of CCUMC who have answered the call to serve in guiding our church through the NLI process. Our Leadership Team includes Jennifer May, Greg Anderson, Dave Smith, Caryl McBride, and Mike Amos.

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 implemented a church-wide breakthrough prayer initiative.  This entire process was birthed and is bathed in prayer.  We believe that when the entire church is focused in specific conversation with God, powerful things happen.

Participation -- After being invited to an Orientation Dinner in May of 2018 our Church Council prayed and discerned that NLI was a beneficial process for our church at such a time as this.  Since the fall of 2018, our church has participated in Breakthrough Prayer training; then beginning in January of 2019 we began praying our Breakthrough Prayer and over the year of 2019 our NLI team worked to learn and compile information about the life of our church.  All Church members were invited to give their input, hopes, dreams, and feedback during our Ministry Focus Event in September 2019 called "Building Disciples in the Heart of VB."  In November 2019, twenty-seven youth participated in a focus event sharing their hopes and dreams about our church with Rev. Jason Stanley from the Elizabeth River District. 


And January 24th- 26th we experienced our Innovations Weekend.  At the end of our worship service, the Weekend Innovations Team presented the innovations that came from all this data, information, and most of all the input of all those who participated.   You can read the full Innovations Report here.

We invite you to Pray, Read the Report, and share your questions.

You can email your questions to our NLI Chair, Jennifer May at

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.

For more Frequently Asked Questions about the Innovations click here.


Pray, Send in your questions, and Come Gather and Learn More

Gathering Meetings are scheduled to help everyone learn about the Innovations. 

These opportunities for the congregation to learn more about the NLI Innovations.  All events will be held in the church sanctuary.

Sunday, February 2nd @ 3pm

Sunday, February 9th @ 3pm

Sunday, February 16th @ 3pm


All Church Conference

Sunday, March 1 @ 12:30 pm

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 at the All Church Conference, then we will begin working to implement them.  Our NLI Mentor, Rev. Rob Colwell, will help to hold us accountable so that we stay focused on our actions for implementation.  As a church involved with NLI, our innovations offer resources and assistance from the District to walk with us, teaching, assisting, and coaching us throughout the whole implementation process. 

How does our participation in the NLI process impact the things we are doing right now? 

Our NLI Innovations integrate with the ministry we are already doing to make an even greater impact in the community and bring our reach for Christ to a higher level of effectiveness. 


Lists of Information and Resources about NLI:

-NLI Orientation Info May 2018

-What is the Next Level Innovations Process Frequently Asked Questions

-NLI Covenant, Timeline, and Self-Study Information

-E-Circuit Rider 10.12.18 Info about NLI

-Ministry Focus Event Flyer September 2019

-CCUMC NLI Innovations Report

-Post Innovations Frequently Asked Questions

-Workbook from Saturday 1/25/2020 NLI retreat

-NLI Innovations Summary Table