Training and Workshops

Teaching, Equipping, Empowering

Upcoming Training, Workshops, Seminars …

Leadership Chatuge Community Builders 2021, Class IV: August 26 – November 11, 2021

Attention Leaders, Emerging Leaders, and Entrepreneurs who want to help build thriving communities! Whether you work or serve in business, government, education, the arts, nonprofits, or you’re preparing for your next vocational or career move, Leadership Chatuge Community Builders can equip and support you, providing a solid foundation to be a more knowledgeable and effective leader in our rural mountain community. Topics include: personal leadership styles, regional economic development and opportunities, local history and Appalachian culture, community supports, understanding social determinants of health, and much more. Highlights include speakers who are experts in their fields, networking opportunities, resources, and engaging presentations. Becoming more knowledgeable in these areas will prepare and equip participants to serve more effectively and confidently as community builders.

    • For adults and high school students in Clay and Cherokee counties (NC) and Towns County, GA
    • Class size limited for optimal instruction and interaction.
    • 12 weeks; Thursdays, 4:30-7:30pm; at Hinton Rural Life Center, Hayesville, NC
    • Tuition Cost: $375; includes speakers, weekly dinners, and supplies; some partial scholarships are available.
    • Applications due August 6, 2021.

For information on scholarships, to obtain an application, or for more information, email .


Life in the Garden: Mindfulness, Grace, & the Power of Presence

Weekend Conference & Retreat, November 5-7, 2021

Registration Opens April 15. More information and registration link posted here.

Presenter and Workshop Leader: Terry Hershey*

The Garden is a place of relaxation, reflection and restoration. It is a sanctuary and a container for wishes, dreams, and the fruit of hard labor. The garden teaches us to cherish the world in which we live. It is no surprise to find the garden central in many discussions about personal and spiritual growth. Time spent in gardens, whether as gardener or visitor, can offer healing for mind, body, and soul. The Garden is a place we can learn about life, faith, and prayer. The Life in the Garden Conference & Retreat is a time to celebrate gardens and gardeners and the role of gardens and gardening in our spiritual journey. The weekend will feature presentations, indoor and outdoor workshops, and the “learning lab” of creating and working in the Sanctuary Gardens of Hinton Rural Life Center. There will also be time for rest, rocking chairs, enjoying the scenic views of Lake Chatuge and the Appalachian Mountains, walking the Labyrinth and trails, and more.

Event leader is Terry Hershey, writer, speaker, ordained minister, gardener, and author of This Is the Life, Sanctuary, The Gift of Enough, Soul Gardening, and more. Learn more about Terry and his blog, Sabbath Moment, at .

Registration fee includes program, supplies, and meals. Accommodations will be booked separately, based on lodging preferences and availability. Options include: Lodge rooms, Hermitage cabins, Sells Cottage, McCall House, and Lakeside Retreat House.

Mental Health First Aid Training

Contact Hinton Center to schedule a training session for adults in your community, church, school, or other organization to learn how to recognize signs of a mental health crisis or issue and be equipped to respond appropriately in offering support and connecting individuals with the help needed. Two courses are available: Adult MHFA and Youth MHFA (for parents/guardians and adults who work with youth, such as teachers, coaches, church youth leaders, etc.).

Training options include virtual, on-site, and combination; Hinton staff can offer training at Hinton Rural Life Center in Hayesville, NC, or at your location (host covers travel//lodging expenses). For details, see the flyers below and/or email .

MHFA_Adult flyer

MHFA_Youth flyer

Youth Leadership Chatuge (YLC)

Youth Leadership Chatuge hopes to resume in 2021, dependent on COVID-19 concerns and guidelines. Students enrolled in the Spring 2020 class will be contacted regarding a 2021 start date and course details, depending on COVID-19 guidelines.

What Is Youth Leadership Chatuge?

The purpose of Youth Leadership Chatuge is to develop leadership skills of middle school youth assessed to have innate leadership abilities so that they are — and feel — equipped, empowered, and encouraged to be servant leaders in their spheres
of influence, resulting in positive and recognizable impacts.

Youth Leadership Chatuge is a 9-week leadership training program for middle school youth
offered after school, at the school, once a week. Each session is 90 minutes. Participants are accepted into the program, based on applications and assessments for giftedness in organizational leadership. The course is led by Karen Kluever, of Hinton Center, with the help of community volunteers. It consists of a series of hands-on, small group activities that focus on specific leadership abilities. Students take turns serving as team leaders; activities are followed by small group discussion.

YLC General Info

Details for the Fall 2021 semester of  Youth Leadership Chatuge will be coming in the spring.

Hinton Resources Available by Link or Order …

Free Webinar Video: “Wesley, Racism, and Anti-Slavery”

Click HERE

From the early days of his ministry, Methodism founder John Wesley was a staunch abolitionist. Professing that all humans are made in the image of God, he worked continually to end slavery, offer salvation to all, and spread scriptural holiness. This webinar, led by Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith*, explores how Wesley’s anit-slavery writings can inform and inspire our anti-racist work today.


Free Webinar Video: “How Methodists Respond to Disease & Pandemic  Through Music, Art, & Poetry”

Click HERE 

Throughout their history, Methodists have responded in many ways to diseases and outbreaks. This  webinar, led by Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith*, focuses on their responses through song, poetry, art, and craft, inspiring participants to reflect on artistic responses to our current pandemic crisis.

Webinar Series

Bird Feeders and Pie Pans: Pandemic, Faith & the Rural Community

Order HERE.

This digital, 5-session resource (on a USB drive) includes videos of the live webinars, PowerPoint presentations,  pdfs of the PowerPoint slides, and a discussion guide. Use for small group study, Sunday school class, or other ministry team program.

Just as there are multiple, creative responses to birds in gardens, rural folk have the potential to respond to their COVID-19 realities and the fallout from this disease. Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith*  explores those realities and guides participants in considering some uniquely Christian and rural ways in which to respond.

*Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith has undergraduate and master’s degrees in Christian Education from Pfeiffer University and a PhD from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Christian Education and Congregational Studies, with a focus on rural ministry. He is an online instructor for Garrett and Wesley Theological Seminary and teaches Rural Ministry certification courses through Jonathan lives outside of Hickory, North Carolina.

Organizational Support, Training, and Workshops

Our staff and associates at Hinton Center are available to resource and support operations and lead training and workshops for your group, church, nonprofit, or organization on a variety of topics, as well as offer specific services, such as catering a meeting or conference, photographing a special event, or leading a retreat. For most offerings, length and format can be customized to meet the needs and goals of your group or organization.

Interested in a topic that’s not listed? Please contact us. Training or workshops should be scheduled 3 to 9 months in advance and can be incorporated into a retreat, mission outreach, or conference event. Cost, if applicable, to be determined.

Workshop/Training Topics

Missional Outreach

  • Home Repairs for Safety and Health – Learn how to assess a home for health and safety, as well as basic home repair terminology, tools, and how to’s. Great workshop to prepare youth and adults going on home repair mission trips or doing home repair outreach in their local communities.
  • Poverty Awareness – Choose one or more of these components (each 1-2 hours) for an overall view of poverty: Biblical Foundation, Mission and Community Building, Justice and Compassion Ministries, Walking Alongside Your Neighbor
  • Bridges Out of Poverty — Comprehensive approach to understanding poverty, using the lens of economic class and providing concrete tools and strategies for a community to alleviate poverty.
  • Poverty Simulations
    • Cost of Poverty Experience – A 2-hour poverty simulation that offers participants a glance at walking in someone else’s shoes. Minimum of 12 participants.
    • Making Choices – A brief experience that encourages participants to make decisions based on limited income and difficult circumstances. Debriefing allows for group discussions and understanding of the tyranny of the moment.
    • Take a Step – A shorter poverty simulation activity that highlights systemic poverty and shows participants that poverty isn’t always about choices someone makes. Minimum of 8 participants; 1-2 hours.
    • Zoom – A unique look at perspective and how it ties into team building and even poverty and other social justice concerns. Minimum of 5 participants; 1-2 hours.
  • Help That Doesn’t Hurt – Sometimes our best efforts and best intentions can feed into systemic poverty, and we end up hurting more than helping. An overview of the biblically focused approach to ending poverty presented in the book When Helping Hurts.
  • Volunteers in Mission Team Leader Training: For leaders of local UMC church mission trips to learn best practices and basic skills, particularly for international teams; must be in cooperation with UMVIM SEJ office.
  • A Missional Continuum: Discusses a modern framework for categorizing mission activities by type: relief, individual betterment, or community engagement, then highlights ministries that fall into the categories churches might want to engage with as partners. Encourages participation with Methodist ministries.
  • Mission in the Age of World Christianity: Shows how the first world approach to mission has evolved from early evangelism efforts worldwide by churches to what it is today. Discover why the old methods are no longer appropriate in our new context.

Disaster Preparation and Response

  • Disaster Preparedness – Learn about the measures to take to prepare for and reduce the effects of disasters, to predict and, where possible, mitigate their impact on vulnerable populations.
  • Case Management in Disaster Recovery — Members of the faith community learn how to identify and address unmet needs of all survivors, particularly people who were vulnerable before a disaster, and how to provide a larger vision of life that includes emotional and spiritual care, as well as physical rebuilding to assist in long-term recovery of those in need.
  • Early Response in Disaster Recovery – Develop a team that meets a specific need in the early days after a disaster to establish the caring presence of the church and provide hope for survivors. This team is NOT a first response group of emergency workers or a recovery rebuild or repair team, but members of the faith community who are prepared to offer the love and hope of Christ to those impacted by the disaster.
  • Early Response Train the Trainer — Provides instruction, coaching, and feedback to prepare individuals to be trainers for Early Response. Participants learn delivery techniques, classroom set up and management, and demonstrate competency as a subject matter expert. (12 hours)
  • Site Assessment in Disaster Recovery — Learn how to assess the physical damage to a disaster-affected residence in order to plan and prepare for the Early Response Team to safely access and secure the property from further damage.
  • Team Leadership – This course is adapted from the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Team Leader training. The purpose is to equip and train leaders for Early Response Teams.
  • Cleaning out Flooded Homes Safely — Participants learn about current best practices and safety procedures for cleaning out, stabilizing and sanitizing water-damaged homes.
  • Hosting Volunteer Teams – Learn the tools and techniques to establish a temporary response center at a local church (or other facility as designated by the community) for the purpose of coordinating the work of Early Response Teams.

Working with Volunteers

  • The Power of a Volunteer — A distinct feature of the nonprofit sector is its voluntary nature, but few organizations possess the knowledge to strategically maximize this advantage. Workshop designed for leaders of nonprofits to help them get the most out of their greatest asset.
  • The Care and Feeding of Volunteers — Church Management in the Small Membership Church —
    Parish pastors often find themselves doing too many things outside the scope of preaching, teaching, and pastoral care, particularly in churches of small membership. This workshop teaches skills in nurturing a healthy group of lay leaders who will take responsibility for the basic daily operations and ministries of the church.

Community Development and Engagement

  • Mental Health First Aid – Help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis by learning to identify, understand, and respond to possible warning signs of mental illness, mental health crisis, or substance abuse. There are separate courses for those working with adults or with youth. (8 hrs)
  • Fostering a Collaborative Asset Group — Inspires people to value and discover the existing resources within their community. Building upon what already exists, encourages people to work together to strengthen the social vitality of communities
  • Asset-Based Community Development – As a strategy for sustainable community-driven development, ABCD builds on the assets are already found in the community and mobilizes individuals, associations, and institutions to come together to build on their assets– not concentrate on their needs.

Spiritual Formation

  • Bible Journaling — An introduction to journaling with the Bible and how to use journaling as a spiritual discipline and/or Sabbath practice. No experience required; fee includes supplies.
  • Creative Ways to Pray – Learn a variety of ancient and modern ways to pray for individuals and groups that cover all the senses, from Lectio Divina to the Bitter-Sweet Candy Prayer.
  • Tips for Leading Small Groups – Learn best practices for facilitating small groups that desire to grow in authentic relationship with God and one another. Can be youth or adult specific.

Leadership and Administration

  • Leadership – Learn strong, effective leadership skills and how to tailor your leadership experience and approach to maximize success.
  • Management – Effectively manage others through expectations, accountability, and disciplinary actions, if necessary; maximize employee effectiveness through delegation and documentation.
  • Basic Human Resources – Understanding basic employment law and how to effectively work with employees; identify “red flags” encountered by managers and how to address them.
  • Strategic Planning – Learn about working together with stakeholders towards long- or short-term strategic planning, creating a roadmap for the future with accountability.
  • Upgrade your Facilitation Skills — Introduces the participant to the four learning styles. Gives tips to preparing PowerPoint presentations. Covers the basics of effective uses of flip charts, while facilitating a class or workshop. Concludes with how to best engage adult learners in dialogue (as opposed to lecturing), which has been proven to help adults learn the best.
  • Grant Writing – Understand your goals and a foundation’s interest; learn the basics of grant writing; practice on real applications.
  • Grant Tracking — Your organization has received a grant, now what? Learn the basic steps in grant tracking. What does the granting organization require? Why is the grant document so important? How should you set up financial records? How do you track the grant outcomes?
  • Organizational Communication – Learn the basics of communication, effective listening, and your communication style; understand how follow-up, feedback, and documentation play a role.
  • Accounting Support — This workshop walks you through the basic steps of what’s needed for an organization to make bank deposits, pay bills, pay payroll, reconcile bank accounts, and prepare basic financial reports. Emphasis is placed on setting up internal policies and controls – even for organizations with limited staffing – to reduce the possibility of errors and improve accuracy of accounting records.
  • Preparing for an Audit — Learn the basic steps in preparing for an outside audit, including: the need for an audit and how to benefit from one; what an audit means; criteria for selecting the audit firm; being “audit ready”; your responsibilities; and more.
  • How to Plan and Monitor a Budget — Provides easy-to-learn methods to help you budget more efficiently and effectively, including techniques to make your budget a short-term and long-range planning tool. Also covers financial planning principles that apply to organizations of any size and structure – from small businesses and nonprofits to large companies.
  • Minimizing Risk in a Nonprofit – Explore the key concepts of risk management to improve performance and effectively accomplish the mission and objectives of non-profit organizations.

Vocation and Calling

  • Discerning and Answering God’s Call – How do you know if God is calling you to something or if it is just something you want to do? And, what are the next steps after you discern a calling?
  • The Ministry of a Deacon, Bridging Church and World – A United Methodist deacon is ordained to ministries of Word, Service, Mercy, and Justice; learn more about this call, how it’s lived out in the local church and extension ministry, and the process involved in becoming a deacon.
  • Exploring the Calls of Laity, Elder, and Deacon – The United Methodist Church recognizes that God calls lay people to serve in specific ways and also calls some to the “set apart” and ordained ministries to life-time service as deacons and elders. Learn the distinctions between those calls and how to discern to which one God may be calling you.
  • Discovering God’s Vision for your Life and Taking Action (Adults): Deepen your relationship with God, understand and celebrate the spiritual gifts God has given you, understand God’s call for your life and ministry, and use your spiritual gifts to help meet the needs of others.

Hospitality Ministries

  • Becoming a Welcoming Church — Utilizing Thom Reiner’s work, pastors and church leadership teams evaluate their congregations’ effectiveness in hospitality and set specific goals and timelines; training includes a 4-week preparation and 1-day workshop.
  • Welcoming Individuals with Disabilities into the Family of God – Learn how to be a welcoming church for persons with disabilities and their families.

Nature, Art, Crafts

  • Hinton Nature Hikes – Get to know the flora and fauna here at Hinton by exploring trails and less traveled areas. Guided tour options include: trail to the outdoor worship area, the disc golf course, walking along the lake shore, and a walk to the vegetable garden.
  • Guided Local and Regional Trail Hikes – Seasonal options include spring flower and summer hardwood tree identification, fall leaf color tour, and winter wonderland views; trail options include short hikes on the Appalachian Trail, Jackrabbit Trail, Piney Knob Trail, Fires Creek Rim Trail, Riverwalk Trail, Wesser Bald Fire Tower, Wayah Bald Fire Tower, Brasstown Bald, and Waterfalls tour.
  • Trail Maintenance / Sustainability – Hinton’s Nick Oliver, a former National Park Service ranger, will show you there’s more than one way around the mountain! Learn how we can minimize human impact on our natural, historic, cultural, scenic and aesthetic resources.
  • Floral and Garden Design – Hands-on learning from Hinton’s Els Vingerling, who developed her skills working with her dad, a horticulturist and florist, in addition to her years of working in garden centers and producing floral arrangements.
  • Pottery – Although there’s currently no pottery studio at Hinton, experience hand building with clay; your creation can be “fired” off site and returned to you.
  • Basic Needle Crafts – Enjoy learning or practicing needle craft skills, including: sewing, crocheting, knitting, embroidery, macramé, and even wet felting (with recycled woolen sweaters) and needle felting!

Youth Ministry

  • Belonging-Believing-Becoming: Engaging Youth Ministry – Develop a model for youth ministry based on adolescent development and the spiritual formation of young people.
  • Confirmation for United Methodist Youth – Design a Confirmation ministry that prepares your young people to make covenant vows of membership, with components of content, retreats, and mentoring. Confirmation retreat leadership is also available.
  • Equipping Adults as Youth Leaders – Make the quality and biblical move from having chaperones to adult leaders who are called and equipped to serve in ministry with youth.
  • Safe Sanctuaries Training for Youth Ministry – Includes review of your Church’s Safe Sanctuaries policies with regard to youth ministry and the training required for your adults in ministry with youth.
  • Planning and Leading Youth Retreats – Learn how to plan and lead youth retreats that build relationships in your youth group, help youth grow in their faith, offer meaningful worship and devotion, and are fun and memorable!
  • Creative Spiritual Practices for Youth – Many youth don’t know where to start when it comes to prayer. Learn a variety of creative spiritual practices – some ancient, some modern – that will draw teenagers into sacred time and space with God and help them feel more confident in their prayer life.
  • Leading a Youth Small Group – We know that small groups provide the best environment and encouragement for personal faith formation, as well as for knitting together the faith community. Learn more about the characteristics of youth small groups and how to help youth get the most out of them.
  • Mental Health First Aid for Youth – Help a young person who may be developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis by learning to identify, understand, and respond to possible warning signs of mental illness, mental health crisis, or substance abuse. This workshop is for adults who work with youth as volunteers or staff and for parents and other family members. (8 hrs)

Church Vitality

  • Customized Ministry Assessment — A constructive assessment will strengthen and build up the body of Christ and not condemn and divide. The church will identify strengths on which to build and weaknesses on which to work, helping to determine if new ministries should be started and/or existing ministries ended. Provides accountability and a sense of ownership for those involved in the process.
  • The Next Step Ministry NOW Process — A 14- to 16-month sub-district revitalization process for 6 to 12 churches. These churches and pastors discover the call of God for their church. Through prayer, demographic studies, and community interviews the church uncovers the unique ministry for their ministry setting.
  • Leadership Tools and Pastoral Leadership Indicator (LPLI) — A variety of resources from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership are used for congregational vitality assessments, as well as leadership development. Everything is customized to fit the needs of the client congregation.
  • Solution-Based Vitality Workshops – Congregations learn to evaluate priorities and become more fruitful. The workshops are based on Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, Shift, Becoming a Welcoming Church, and Autopsy of a Deceased Church.
  • Shift Workshop — Using Phil Maynard’s book Shift, pastors and laity evaluate their church from five perspectives and develop specific goals in each area: worship, outreach, mission, discipleship, stewardship. The training includes a 4-week preparation, with a one-day workshop.
  • Shift Network — A 12-month district revitalization process using Phil Maynard’s “Shift” network process. Churches and pastors develop one internally-focused and one externally-focused goal for each of the five “Shifts.” Five 1-day workshops, with year-long evaluation and preparation.
  • Becoming a Welcoming Church — Utilizing Thom Reiner’s work of the same name, pastors and church leadership teams evaluate their congregations’ effectiveness in hospitality. The training includes a 4-week preparation and 1-day workshop.
  • Church Evaluation for Vitality — Utilizing Thom Reiner’s work, Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive, churches evaluate themselves in light of the decline of the Protestant North American church. The training includes a 6-week preparation and 1-day workshop.
  • Individual Coaching for Pastors– During hourly coaching, pastors explore topics such as approach, calling, conflicts, and vision-casting and develop specific goals and strategies. Minimum of 4 sessions.
  • Individual Coaching for Churches — Consists of 12 to 14 months of specific strategy development for outreach and church health/growth.
  • Individual Coaching for Pastors/Laity – Together, pastors and laity develop specific goals and strategies based on their ministry settings. A wide variety of topics is explored, such as lifestyle needs, leadership styles, God’s calling, vision casting, conflict management, and mediation. Minimum of 4 sessions.
  • Visioning and Planning for Mission and Ministry – This workshop teaches congregational leaders the nuts and bolts of conducting a Vision and Planning session in their congregation, helping the congregation look at itself and its community with fresh eyes, leading to a concrete plan of missional activity. 2-3 hours.
  • Stewardship Campaigns 101 – Just as most diet plans boil down to “Eat less, move more,” there are some simple basics to running a congregational stewardship ministry. This workshop will teach congregational leaders basic steps, as well as dos and don’ts in conducting a pledge drive.
  • Spiritual Direction as a Model for Parish Ministry – Designed to help parish ministers in their work with individuals, groups, and ministry teams in their churches. Learn and practice the time-tested techniques that spiritual directors use to help others pay attention to God’s guidance and activity in their lives.

Faith Sharing, Biblical Message

  • Church Outreach/Evangelism — Utilizing Bishop Bob Farr’s book, Get Their Name, this workshop leads the church in teaching individuals to share their faith in Jesus Christ. Pastors and lay people learn specific ways to share their “God stories” on a daily basis. The training includes a 4-week preparation, with a 2-day seminar.
  • Trusting Your Life: Personal Story and Proclaiming the Gospel — How does one appropriately use personal experiences in a sermon? This workshop offers both a sound homiletical foundation for using personal story, along with techniques and guidelines, so that sharing personal experiences can be a powerful part of a preaching skill set.
  • The Big Picture: What the Bible Is All About and Why It Matters — This workshop takes us through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation and helps us explore how each biblical book fits into the overall story of God’s relationship with God’s people. We’ll also consider how our personal stories become a part of the “Big Picture” of God’s graceful ways with the world.
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