This event was held for all conference leaders, clergy and lay, who will be involved with Conference ministry areas beginning July 1, 2016. Training was held at St. Luke’s UMC in Orlando on June 25, 2016.We had two sessions with Dr. Lovett Weems, renowned author, professor and Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. He has shared with us a video lesson and PowerPoint slides for both sessions (start here, and then go here).In the first session, Connecting Leadership and Vision, he notes that Mission and Vision statements make very little difference in churches, and in annual conferences. In churches, we have different program and ministry areas, while in annual conferences, there are different departments and ministries. What we should be doing is thinking the Whole before the Parts. After all, we are the BODY of Christ, and not just the BODY PARTS of Christ. Conference Leaders should see themselves as stewards of the United Methodist witness in the Florida Conference. In the second session, Dr. Weems showed how we are declining, both in the size of our congregations and in our Professions of Faith. There are some interesting slides in that session to look over.
However, the important thing is to remember what our Mission is all about. Our Conference Mission is simply: To increase the number of vital congregations effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.We should do this utilizing our Wesleyan understanding of salvation and faith, therefore making dynamic versus static plans. If we are all tied into the same mission, basically making disciples of Jesus, and saw that percolating downward into all of our work and ministries, we might have better results. While success is not a biblical concept, fruitfulness is!Bishop Carter will be co-leading the Conference Table with our new Conference Lay Leader, and will begin to implement this understanding in the years to come.