Training Opportunities

Training Opportunities | United Methodist Volunteers in Mission | Opportunities to Serve

ERT Training

About Early Response Team Training:

An Early Response Team is a self-contained team that enters a disaster area by invitation. ERTs provide emergency repairs and/or assistance to help people be safe, sanitary and secure until insurance and other help is available.

United Methodist ERTs offer a Christian presence and are trained to provide various types of physical, emotional and spiritual assistance to disaster survivors.

ERTs are taught the types, phases, and levels of disaster as well as the unique role and purpose of “early response.” Training also includes team leadership, team needs and equipment, spiritual and emotional care, faith-based disaster response, chainsaw safety, how to tarp roofs safely and how we coordinate with UMVIM (United Methodist Volunteers in Mission) and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief).

This training focuses on helping individuals develop the skills needed to serve on an Early Response Team. During an ERT call out, teams are put together based on the availability of trained individuals to serve. Since everyone is trained to the same standard, ERTs are typically made up of volunteers from several churches.

Who Needs to Come From a Local Church?

Persons interested in being part of a local church or district Early Response Team that will respond within the district and Conference at a minimum, and where possible in other conferences.

  • Conference Trainers (certified by UMCOR) will lead group.
  • How individuals and organizations work to provide Relief and Recovery.
  • How UMCOR partners with annual conferences to provide training and funding.
  • Understanding the complex and dangerous environment during early response.
  • Chainsaw safety, ladder safety, and tarping.

This two-day training focuses on helping individuals develop the skills needed to serve on an Early Response Team.

Early check-in begins at 4:30 pm, dinner starts at 5:30 pm and training starts at 6:30 pm. Training will be over by 4 pm on Saturday.

Cedar Crest Camp
7900 Cedar Crest Camp Road,
Lyles, TN 37098

$60 per person Registration fee includes Lodging, Meals (Dinner Friday, breakfast, lunch and a snack Saturday), T-shirt, Credentials (Badge), Background check, Manual and Training.

Upcoming Two-Day ERT Training:
  • Friday, September 15 & Saturday, September 16, 2017
    Registration Coming Soon

ERT Re-Certification TRAINING

This training is available only to ERT members whose certification has expired or is about to expire (took basic class 2013 or before.) To be recertified, ERTs must have this training, take a test, get a new background check provided by TNUMC, and have a new photo taken for their new badge.

Upon completion of a re-certification test, you will be eligible to receive a new UMCOR ERT badge good for three years, providing you also pass a Safe Sanctuary Background Check prior to the training.

There is a $20 registration fee (cash or checks made out to TNUMC) to cover the cost of materials, badge and background check.  Please mail checks to TNUMC, Attn: ERT RECET Training, 304 S. Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 1, Nashville, TN 37211.  When you register, Jullie Meyer, assistant to Missional Engagement, will send you the information to complete your background check.

Additional T-shirts may be purchased for $10 each at the training.

Upcoming ERT  Re-Certification Trainings:

Registration Dates coming soon.

Connecting Neighbors

About Connecting Neighbors Training:

The Connecting Neighbors curriculum consists of an overview of disaster ministry and three units.

The Disaster Ministry Overview provides foundational information.

Objectives: Participants will understand how our United Methodist structure enhances the local church’s capabilities for disaster readiness and response.

Time: Budget about 30-60 minutes for this overview.

Target Audience: Everyone.

Module 1: Ready Congregants focuses on preparing individuals and families to be disaster-ready.

Objectives: Participants will be inspired to take action in order to prepare themselves, their households and others before and immediately following a disaster.

Time: Budget about two hours for this unit.

Target Audience: Everyone.

Module 2: Ready Churches emphasizes the importance of protecting church property and the people within the property, before and immediately following a disaster, and of appropriate use of church property in disaster response.

Objectives: Participants will (1) identify one or more steps to take in order to mitigate against disaster-caused damage to property; (2) identify one or more steps to take in order to prevent harm to people who are present in or on church property when disasters or emergencies occur; and (3) be able to assess the utilization of church property following a disaster within or near the community of the church.

Time: Budget about two hours for this unit.

Target Audience: Everyone, especially church leaders including, but not limited to, pastors, trustees, Sunday school superintendent, lay leader, missions coordinator, treasurer and finance committee members, young adult and youth representatives, and others.

Module 3: Ready Response encourages churches to explore their capacity for various disaster response ministries and to consider ways to engage community partners.

Objectives: Participants will (1) be able to identify at least one disaster ministry their church might be willing and able to implement before and/or after a community disaster; and (2) initiate a preliminary plan to engage the church and to cooperate with other households of faith and the community in order to be prepared to respond in the event of a disaster.

Time: Budget about two hours for this unit.

Target Audience: Everyone interested in disaster-ready congregations and communities, particularly mission and outreach personnel, lay leaders, United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men, youth ministry leaders, lay servants and Stephen’s Ministers!

UMVIM Team Leader

About UMVIM Team Leader Training:

UMVIM Team Leader Training prepares volunteers to lead Volunteer in Mission teams to projects in the United States and around the world. You will learn the “ins and outs” of organizing a mission experience – from recruiting the team to choosing the location, getting support, staying safe and much more. Not sure if you are ready to lead a team? Come and learn what it takes – you will be well informed and a better team member.

To inquire about UMVIM team leader training please contact Sarah Matthews at

Upcoming Training Sessions:


  • Friday, September 15 & Saturday, September 16, 2017
    Registration Coming Soon