An Invitation to Transformation
Everywhere I travel within the Memphis Conference, and in events around the country, I keep hearing a common question: What's wrong with the church, and what can we do about it?
To ask and answer that question is to ask and answer the wrong question. The real question should be: What is God telling us about our church's mission and where is God asking us to improve our discipleship?
That is the essential set of questions being asked by our Council of Bishop's Call to Action Initiative.
I prefer to call this work an invitation to transformation focusing on the transforming power in the grace of Jesus Christ. Unlike programs that are created at the top of organizations, this invitation - while coming from our bishops - is designed to put the focus on the local church. You can be assured that your Connectional Ministry Team will work alongside you to increase our mutual discipleship.
The process has begun. In each of our Memphis Conference districts, clergy are learning about this opportunity and receiving resources to help lay leadership in local congregations review your mission/ministry with a caring, critical eye.
We could spend great energy on looking for what's wrong; but, I prefer for us to look for the opportunities for ministry and accountability within this initiative.
You will find within the Memphis Conference Web site (www.memphis-umc.org) increasing resources designed to help you and your fellow disciples of Jesus Christ discern where God is leading us. All of these resources are valuable, but it will be for each local church to discern which resource best help the local congregation.
God has dreamed a celebration of ministry for churches of the Memphis Conference. As loved children, we are invited to join the party!
John R. Bonson, Sr. - Director of Connectional Ministries
Resources for Memphis Conference 'Call to Action' initiative
General Board of Discipleship Resources
5 New Ideas from GBOD
Dreaming of Vital Congregations: a 5-part film series online
Remembering the Future: Praying for General Conference
Resources from The Connectional Table
Goal Setting Dashboard
YouTube Videos from the Vital Congregations discussing various elements of Vital Congregations Ministry
Baltimore-Washington Conference Article on General Conference Proposals
Books or articles that are recommended (available from Cokesbury - link is provided below)
Churches respond to the Call to Action - more introductory information
UM Vital Congregations Web site
Innovative Leadership Project
Link2Lead - demographics of your local Church (free to you - paid for by your apportioned giving)
Ministry Plan from UM School of Congregational Development
Video from General Conference Finance and Administration on Vitality
UMC Website Description of the Call to Action
Spiritual Leadership Institute
Congregational Resource Guide (Alban Institute)
Worship and Spiritual Formation Planning Resources
Community Outreach Resources
Extravagant Giving Resources
A Fore–Giving Church - Issue #50
Risk-Taking Mission Resources
A collection of small group study resources - Borrow from your District Office
When you find additional resources, please send them to the Connectional Ministries Team Office by clicking here: Resources We Found & Used