Our Story

Our Name

The name of our organization, 1703: A Faith Collaborative, comes from our roots in the Methodist tradition. 1703 is the birth year of John Wesley, an Anglican priest who was the founder of the Methodist movement. Wesley is known for many things, including the way he gathering people around faith. These gatherings were called “class meetings” where people came together to explore their faith, share their joys and struggles, supported one another, and cared for the “least of these” in the community.

Our Research

In 2017 we acquired grant and private donor funding to conduct a professional market research study on the decline of organized religion in the United States. We partnered with Lieberman Research Worldwide, one of the world’s top marketing research firms. The study was completed in June 2018. The results of our study confirmed much of what we already knew, that people are turning away from organized religion as an avenue to explore their faith. However, it also showed that people are still deeply interested in faith and spirituality and they still want to engage in that journey as part of a community that looks and functions differently from what many churches have traditionally offered.

Inspired by the life and ministry of Wesley and the results of our study with LRW we launched 1703: A Faith Collaborative to launch new communities of faith and partner with existing churches and faith communities to help them learn from our research and decades of ministry experience.

Our Experts

Executive Director: Rev. Courtney McHill is an ordained elder in the United Methodist connection, moved from Portland, Oregon to Berlin, Germany to follow her heart after walking the Camino de Santiago in 2017.  She grew up in Lebanon, OR and is still connected to the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.  While not in pastoral church ministry currently, after four very different pastor appointments ranging from large churches to a new church start, she continues to write about life in Berlin, ministry in the world, and how God continually shows up.  She is passionate about walking alongside the houseless and those marginalized.  During the pandemic she preached for many different churches in many ways and served a church in Portland, OR as resident pastoral counselor online. She blogs at pastorcourt.com if you want to see what she is up to.

Our founder and president, Rob Rynders, is an ordained United Methodist deacon and has a passion for being a connector who coaches professional and volunteer leaders and teams around innovative ideas, projects, events, and partnerships. 

We’ve also partnered with other experts in worship design and leadership, family ministries, stewardship, finance, and fundraising, marketing, communications, graphic design, and more.

Our Board

  • Rob Rynders, 1703
  • Rev. Kristen Gallagher, Reno First UMC
  • Rev. Brandon Lazarus, Morningstar UMC
  • Clyde Moore, Gliocas LLC
  • Amy Notbohm, Dayspring United Methodist Church

Our Commitment

We believe connecting with our neighbors is deeply important, faithful, work. For this reason, we organized 1703 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. This allows us to be flexible so we can focus on the needs of a wider spectrum of leaders and organizations. In other words, we can prioritize mission over our bottom line. View our profile on Guidestar.

If you’re ready to take the next step and talk about how we can help your organization please click here to schedule a free thirty minute consultation. We look forward to serving you!

Free Download on Church Decline

Join our mailing list and recieve the free PDF "Developing Communities of Faith For the Twenty-First Century" which includes original professional market research on church decline and spiritual needs in the US. 

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