Summer 2019 Lay Leader Newsletter

Annual Conference:

Annual Conference 2019 has concluded. It was both informative and enjoyable. We celebrated both the ministries of several retiring pastors, as well as those newly ordained! Delegates have now been elected to the 2020 General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference. Good news was shared regarding the conference budget, pensions, and more! Important legislative work was completed.

Lay delegates to the Annual Conference should have already reported to the congregation and the church council. Don’t stop there! – share this information with your Sunday school classes, Wed. Night Supper group, Finance and SPRC committees… Remember, you are the connection between your local church and the conference. If you don’t share and strengthen this connection – who will?

Action To Take: Report back to your congregation on the activities and information from Annual Conference. Share this information multiple times to ensure everyone benefits from our connection. (Recaps from each day as well as a Wrap-Up Bulletin insert are available on  the conference website, ______________________________________________________________________

Alive Together in the World

These segments from Annual Conference highlight the various ways we are reaching out throughout the South Georgia Conference, and beyond. These would be excellent short videos to share as part of your Wednesday Night Supper programming, or small groups. You’ll gain insight and ideas into how we are able to impact the lives of those around us. These also serve to highlight how our connectional faith strengthens our churches and allows our congregations to accomplish amazing things in the name of Jesus!

  • Alive Together in the World Moments (click on the links):
    • One: Developing Leaders/Growth in Worship Attendance 
    • Two: Multicultural Task Force & Undocumented Neighbors Task Force 
    • Three: Disaster Response - 'The Last to Leave'
    • Four: Disaster Response - Hurricane Michael Recovery 
    • Five: The Global Church (coming soon)

Action to Take: Share these short videos as part of your Wed. Night program or small group lesson topics. Use them to inspire ministry and to highlight the impact of our connection in the UMC!

Calling All Church Leadership!

The changing dynamics of contemporary church life are well-known, but what’s less well-known is how leaders can work most effectively in this new context. In Quietly Courageous, esteemed minister and congregational consultant Gil Rendle offers practical guidance to leaders—both lay and ordained—on leading churches today. Dr. Rendle encourages leaders to stop focusing on the past and instead focus relentlessly on their mission and purpose—what is ultimately motivating their work. He also urges a shift in perspectives on resources, discusses models of change, and offers suggestions for avoiding common pitfalls and working creatively today. 
Dr. Rendle provided input and guidance that is relevant to all who desire to be a disciple of Jesus. His messages to Annual Conference were eye-opening and inspiring. I encourage you to gather your church leadership, your lay leadership and church staff and view these segments together. Then brainstorm together and develop a plan to use this new-found wisdom to increase your churches impact on your mission – creating disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!

Action To Take: Use these segments to develop your church leadership and re-energize your focus on the mission of your church.

Nominations Committee

Is your Nominations Committee hard at work? No, I haven’t grown three heads. Yes, I know Summer has just begun!

Often our Nominations Committees are treated as an after-thought. A group that gathers maybe once a year, in late Summer or early Fall to quickly pull together a list of individuals to fill roles in church leadership, just before it all has to be presented to your Charge Conference. I have personally experienced this myself. But is that the way the committee is supposed to function?

You may be surprised to learn, the official name is the ‘Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development’. It might be worthwhile to pull out your Book of Discipline, and review 285.1 with your entire committee.

As we head into the lazy days of summer, this is a great time to just reach out and coordinate with your Nominations Committee; to simply review the leadership roles you will be looking to fill in the Fall. Ask your committee members to be in conversation, observation and prayer about these leadership roles. As you all interact with each other and with members throughout your church, be looking for individuals with the gifts for the specific roles you will need filled. Be looking for folks who will bring fresh ideas and new energy into your ministries. Often, just in passing conversations with members of my church family, I find or learn about individuals who are passionate about one area of ministry or another.

It is important committee members be constantly on the lookout for potential leadership in your church all year, not just hurriedly in the Fall. The Lay Leader and Pastor, with the Nominations Committee, are responsible for keeping your church leadership from becoming stagnant and entrenched. In smaller churches this may simply mean your leadership rotates, and that is OK. The important thing is not to have one person in the same role forever. If we are going to develop our leaders, we need to provide the opportunity for them to grow – by experiencing new / different roles. And we need to grow ourselves, in the same manner.

As the Nominations Committee does its important work, bear in mind this statistic: a common characteristic of highly vital churches (unrelated to church size) is that at least 51% of the congregation has served in church leadership roles.
Action to Take: Communicate with your Nominations Committee and get everyone actively searching now, for the right lay leadership to fill key roles in your church.


Prepare for Your New (or Newly Returning) Pastor

Whether you will be welcoming a new pastor to your church family, or welcoming back a returning pastor, this is an important time in the life of your church. As Lay Leader, you should take advantage of this opportunity to get your pastor and your church leadership focused and coordinated.

As soon as possible, once “moving week” is over, schedule a meeting including yourself, your pastor, your finance chair, Staff-Parish Relations chair, Administrative Council chair, and Trustees chair.  This meeting should really be kept to no more than one hour. Let each chairperson give a report on their area of ministry – strengths, weaknesses, ideas for improvement; beginning with the Finance chairperson, with yourself and then the pastor as the last two to report.

This group unofficially represents sort of an “Executive Committee” of the church, and it is very beneficial to get you all on the same page with the same focus and clear goals. Just remember, this is not a decision making group – that responsibility remains with the individual committees you each represent. It is really beneficial to get the heads of each of these key groups aligned and focused together. This is helpful to any pastor and is especially beneficial to an incoming pastor, new to your church.

Action to Take:  Prepare for and schedule a meeting of your “Executive Committee”, as soon as possible after moving week.

On A Side Note

I’ve been intrigued to find more and more congregations wearing name tags for church activities, including worship service. At first I found it odd since although it makes sense for larger churches, it seemed counter-intuitive for many smaller churches.

What I have learned from church leadership is wearing a name tag, often including the area of ministry where you serve, emboldens members to reach out and speak to newcomers and visitors. It makes their congregations more proactively hospitable!  Being able to readily identify someone by name / ministry area also encourages others to come up and speak or start a conversation. Ironically, these name tags actually help to learn people’s names more quickly! (It also helps highlight the various ministries you have in your church!)

So I’ve learned wearing tags with your name and area of ministry helps make congregations more outgoing, helps visitors feel more comfortable in approaching your church members, and ultimately makes learning names easier! Maybe this is something every church should consider?

Those churches which are receiving a new pastor might want to implement a name tag / ministry area regimen for at least the first month of the appointment. Your members only have to learn the names of the pastor and their spouse. They, on the other hand, have to learn the entire congregation. Even a dozen families can be a challenge. Think about it.

Hi I’m
“Bob Jones”

Food Bank Ministry

Has anyone told you lately how amazing you are? You are part of the wonderful connection and blessing that is the United Methodist Church and the South Georgia Conference - Thank you again for all you do.
“A common interest can bind us as friends, but a common Father binds us as family.” 

Your brother in Christ-

              J. Knapp
              District Lay Leader

Upcoming Events

Jul 11-14 Mark Twain Meets Francis Asbury, Epworth by the Sea
Jul 15-18 Georgia Pastors School, Epworth by the Sea
Jul 27 UMW Executive Board Meeting, Camilla UMC
Aug 3 UMW Social Action Workshop
Aug 17 9am, Southwest District UMM Men's Rally, Cairo First UMC
Aug 24 Pathways, Trinity UMC, Warner Robins
Sep 2 Labor Day, Office Closed
Sep 9 Lake Blackshear Cluster Charge Conference Consultations, Ashburn UMC
Sep 13-15 The Art of Marriage, Epworth by the Sea
Sep 21 UMW Annual Meeting, Friendship UMC (Donalsonville)
Sep 23-26 Autumn Adventures, Epworth by the Sea
Sep 24 WoCo Connection Cluster Charge Conference Consultations, Moultrie First
Sep 26 10am, Sexual Ethics Workshop, First UMC, Tifton
Sep 29 3pm, Lake Blackshear/WoCo Connection Charge Conference, Pinson Memorial
Oct 1 Cornestone Cluster Charge Conference Consultations, Quitman UMC
Oct 5 UMW District Officer's Training
Oct 7 Ochlockonee River Cluster Charge Conference Consultations, Dawson Street UMC
Oct 13 3pm, Cornerstone/Ochlockonee River Charge Conference, Cairo FUMC
Oct 15 Sowega Flint River Cluster Charge Conference Consultations, Friendship UMC
Oct 22 Kolomoki Cluster Charge Conference Consultations, Westview UMC
Oct 27 3pm, Sowega Flint River/Kolomoki Charge Conference, Blakely FUMC
Oct 28 Flint River Flock Cluster Charge Conference Consultations, Bethany UMC
Nov 4 Albany Cluster Charge Conference Consultations, The Pointe
Nov 9 UMW Local Officer Training/Executive Board
Nov 10 3pm, Flint River Flock/Albany Charge Conference, Christ UMC
Nov 14 District Board of Ordained Ministry, Camilla UMC
Nov 25-29 Thanksgiving Week, Office Closed
Dec 7 District Christmas Party
Dec 17-Jan 1 District Office Closed for Christmas
  2020 Dates
Jan 5 Leadership Tour, Statesboro First
Jan 12 Leadership Tour, Warner Robins First
Jan 17-18 Lay Speaking Class, Hand Memorial UMC
Jan 19 Leadership Tour, Camilla UMC
Jan 26 Leadership Tour, Hinesville First
Jan 31-Feb 1 Lay Speaking Class, Crossroads UMC
Feb 14-15 Lay Speaking Class, Ellaville UMC
Feb 20 10am, Sexual Ethics Workshop, Pittman Park UMC
Feb 28-29 Lay Speaking Class, McRae UMC
Apr 21 10am, Sexual Ethics Workshop, Vineville UMC
Southwest District Office | 1602 Goff Circle Cordele, GA 31015 | (229) 273-3119