Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Learning to Create New Ministries at School of Congregational Development

NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 7, 2010/GBOD/ — The annual School of Congregational Development will bring together an outstanding group of speakers and workshop leaders on July 29-Aug. 2 to help United Methodist Church leaders learn to develop better disciple-making faith communities.

SCD 2010, sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship, Path 1 and the General Board of Global Ministries, will be held at the Renaissance Hotel and Nashville Convention Center and area churches.

“The School of Congregational Development is the one place where United Methodists gather together to learn to dream and to learn how to create new ministries,” said Craig K. Miller, Director of pastoral leadership for GBOD. “That's what makes it unique because we have bishops, district superintendents, conference leaders, pastors and laity all gathered together for the same purpose of learning together.”

The registration fee through July 1 is $425. After July 1, registration is $475.

Participants can choose from a variety of learning options which includes 16 Intensives, 25 Ministry Tracks, 11 Teaching Churches and 15 Workshops for Leader Development.

Plenary and worship leaders include:

Bishop Dick Wills of the Tennessee Annual Conference
Rev. Sharma Lewis, senior pastor at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, McDonough, Ga.
Rev. Sam Park, lead pastor at Community Church at Holliston, Pasadena, Calif.
Dr. David Owens, faculty director of the Professional Development Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville
Rev. Rudy Rasmus, pastor of St. John’s Downtown Church, Houston
Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank, pastor at CrossRoads United Methodist Church, Phoenix
Dr. Tony Campolo, author and professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa.

Sessions will meet on Thursday to Saturday at the Nashville Convention Center and McKendree United Methodist Church in downtown Nashville. Participants will visit teaching churches in the area on Sunday morning, and Brentwood United Methodist Church will host workshops on Monday.

On Sunday evening, participants will join people from area churches for special music and worship to support the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s work in Haiti and flood relief for Nashville and the surrounding area at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Campolo will speak and music will be provided by recording artist Richie McDonald, former lead singer with the group Lonestar, and the choir from Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church.

SCD was developed by the General Board of Discipleship and the General Board of Global Ministries originally to work with new churches and over the years has developed strategies to also work with bishops, district superintendents, conference leaders and local churches. In the past 15 years, the school has grown from about 10 attendees to more than 600 last year in Chicago.

The Nashville event will be hosted by the Tennessee Conference, McKendree UMC and Brentwood UMC.

For online registration, go to www.scdumc.org. For questions, contact Deborah Carvin at GBOD by phone at 877-899-2780 Ext. 7051 or by e-mail at dcarvin@gbod.org.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Research Shows Support for Four Areas of Focus

NASHVILLE, TN: Research conducted by United Methodist Communications on behalf of the Connectional Table reveals widespread denominational support for the Church’s four Areas of Focus, adopted by the 2008 General Conference.

“The research shows that most respondents believe that the Areas of Focus are very important for the church,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. “But we also heard that knowledge about the areas is still somewhat limited.”

"General Conference affirmed the four Areas of Focus because they are essential areas of ministry most of our vital local churches are already doing,” said Bishop John Hopkins, chair of the Connectional Table. “It is more important that we do the work than know the language of the areas of focus. Our heartwarming response to the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile demonstrates that United Methodists understand the importance of sharing the love of Jesus Christ to those who are poor and without adequate medical care."

Support is uniformly strong for three of the four areas: engaging in ministry with the poor, developing principled Christian leaders, and creating new places for new people/revitalizing existing congregations. Fewer people indicated that combating diseases of poverty is very important for the denomination, although many who indicated that initiatives are not important said they lacked enough information to have an opinion.

Although respondents reported limited knowledge of the four Areas of Focus, they indicated greater familiarity, however, with initiatives affiliated with the areas, including the Nothing But Nets anti-malaria initiative and the Rethink Church advertising and welcoming campaign.
Survey participants reported that their local churches are active in many of the areas associated with the Areas of Focus, including 54 percent of pastors who said that their church had participated in Nothing But Nets during the last year.
“This feedback reveals opportunities to align the messaging of the church more closely with the positive work it is doing,” said Hollon.
Hollon points to a survey question that asked respondents if their church understands the concept of connectionalism. Just 18 percent of pastors, 14 percent of leaders, and 12 percent of members agreed strongly that their church understands connectionalism.
“As a connectional church, we are united by a common mission and governance that allow us to reach into the world as the hands and feet of Christ,” said Hollon. “This research points to the need to build understanding about the connection by communicating how it extends our reach and the scale of our abilities to create change as followers of Jesus. The connectional reach of The United Methodist Church empowers each of us to achieve more together than we could achieve individually or as a single congregation. It makes us much bigger than ourselves, able to do much greater work.”

The study, conducted in December 2009, includes survey results from 2,895 pastors, 805 church leaders, and 1,416 members.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Rethink Church and Charting the Course to be held at Lake Junaluska

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. – Do you long for your church to “rethink” its mission? Do you want change and growth to be evident in your part of God’s Kingdom? This April, Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center will host the Rethink Church workshop which poses the question, “What if Church was a verb?” Rethink Church will be held in combination with Charting the Course, another workshop designed to give attendees specific tools and ideas to reshape the way their church invites, welcomes, and reaches out. Rethink Church and Charting the Course will be held from April 25-29, and those interested have the option of attending either workshop or both.

“I hope participants will take away practical information and practices to put into use in their local churches to make them more welcoming and to learn how to become more inviting,” said Rethink Church leader Reverend Mark Barden, Western North Carolina Conference Director of Communications. Workshop training will cover the areas of welcoming, connecting, and identifying. Barden sees the workshop as “a catalyst that moves the denomination…into dialogue – and ultimately, into transformative, collaborative action.” In addition to answering the question “What if Church was a verb?”, the workshop will “[prod] us to consider church as more about what we do than simply a place to go on Sunday mornings. Grounded in Wesleyan theology, Rethink Church encourages us to move beyond the walls of the church and engage those outside the walls in the action of Christ in the world.” Similarly, Charting the Course will offer practical ways these ideals can be put into play in the Church.

Rethink Church and Charting the Course will feature several leaders, each of whom have experience in discipleship and facilitating personal and church growth. Leading Rethink Church in addition to Reverend Mark Barden of Western North Carolina staff will be Reverend Ms. Dawn Hand, Associate Pastor of Matthews United Methodist Church; and Reverend Mr. Gregg Plott, Pastor of Warrensville Charge and Chair of WNCC Commission on Communications. Leading Charting the Course will be the Reverend Ms. Donna Gaither, who has served as Christian educator and currently serves on the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. Gaither also helped develop the Charting the Course materials with the Little Rivers Conference in Illinois.

Registration fees vary from $70-$85 for early registration, depending on workshop or workshops being attended. After April 1, late registration fees apply and prices vary from $85-$100. More information about the retreats, leaders, and registration can be found at www.lakejunaluska.com/charting, where a printable brochure and lodging information can also be found, or by contacting Pam Naplen at 828-454-6656.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

United Methodists asked to participate in socially responsible investing survey

General Conference task force seeks input.

United Methodists are invited to participate in an online survey about socially responsible investing.

The 2008 General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body, established a task force to develop a common standard for determining investments to be avoided and those considered to have a positive social impact.

General Conference decreed that the standard should be consistent with the United Methodist Social Principles, and be applicable to both individual and institutional investors.

Byrd Bonner, executive director of the United Methodist Church Foundation (UMCF), convened the task force. It comprises representatives from the General Boards of Church & Society (GBCS), Global Ministries (GBGM), Pension & Health Benefits (GBPHB), General Council on Finance & Administration (GCFA) and the National Assn. of United Methodist Foundations.

“The task force recognizes that numerous other individuals and institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church invest funds,” Bonner said. “We want to ensure that the task force considers the opinions of as many UMC investors as possible.”

The task force developed a brief survey regarding investing practices and standards. “The survey is designed to assess where we are as a denomination in the area of socially responsible investing,” explained Wesley Paulson, editor of the survey. “Some investors follow a do-not-buy investment policy, while others seek to encourage engagement with corporations through shareholder advocacy.”

Paulson, who is chief financial officer of GBCS and the General Commission on Religion & Race, said the survey solicits information about types of socially responsible investing, methods used to determine investments in general, and actions that may stem from investment decisions. It also asks about social justice issues, including human rights issues, important to investors.

The survey should take no more than five minutes, according to Paulson. It is being handled through a secure server to ensure confidentiality of information.

To access the survey, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=1oaTQLcQDQqWw8xU3m5%2bNwJIn%2fEba%2fZe6JE0e28bGNI%3d&

Deadline to fill out the survey is March 10.

The task force will report its progress to the 2012 General Conference.

You may contact any task force member for more information.

Members of the Socially Responsible Investing Task Force besides Bonner and Paulson are the following: the Rev. Faith Fowler, GBCS board member; Dan Gara, treasurer, California-Pacific Conference and GCFA member; Bill Junk, president, Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation; the Rev. James Mentzer, director of planned giving, United Methodist Foundation (North Carolina); Vidette Bullock Mixon, GBPHB director corporate relations; Wayne Moy, GBGM associate treasurer and co-executive director, United Methodist Development Fund; John Redmond, GBGM board member; and Dave Zellner, GBPHB chief investment officer.

Bonner can be reached at (615) 308-9178 or bbonner@umcfoundation.org.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shockley to Head New Church Development in the U.S.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., February 16, 2010 / GBOD / -- The Rev. Gary Shockley has been named executive officer for New Congregational Development in the U.S. for the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD), where he will be leading the Path 1 Team, effective July 1, 2010.

Bishop Lindsey Davis, chair of the Path 1 Team; Bishop Charlene Kammerer, president of GBOD’s board of directors; and Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, General Secretary of GBOD, made the announcement.

Shockley, currently New Church Systems Strategist for Path 1, will succeed the Rev. Tom Butcher, who is taking an appointment in the Desert Southwest Conference beginning July 1, 2010. Butcher, who was appointed the first executive officer in 2007, will continue in the role through the end of June.

Shockley will lead the Path 1 staff, based at GBOD headquarters in Nashville, and will continue to work with Path 1 steering committee and the Council of Bishops toward the goal of building and implementing the denomination's collaborative effort to train 1,000 new church planters who will start 650 new churches by 2013.

“Gary has shown strong leadership in working toward this goal with Tom and the others on the Path 1 Team,” said the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top executive for GBOD.

“While we will miss Tom greatly as he moves to a new role in the Desert Southwest Annual Conference, we know that Gary will build on the success already demonstrated by the Path 1 Team.”

Shockley, who has served as a New Church Systems Strategist since February of 2009, began his service as a pastor in the United Methodist Church when he was 18.

In addition to more than 30 years of ministry, he has more than 12 years of experience in New Church Starts.

An elder in the Florida Annual Conference, he has a master’s of divinity degree, has an M.A., and lacks only his dissertation toward his doctorate in spiritual formation. A published author, he is also a strong verbal communicator. He also has experience as a leader in the annual School of Congregational Development.

“Gary brings specialized knowledge to the executive officer position with his extensive training and expertise in church consulting focusing on new church development, extensive fund development experience, visioning and strategic planning, new church design experience, team building with supervision experience and conflict resolution,” said Greenwaldt.

In making the announcement, Davis, Kammerer and Greenwaldt all pointed to the fact that as a New Church Systems Strategist, Shockley has been developing a nationwide coaching network, assessment resources, funding strategy workshops, annual conference contextualized consulting and numerous other resources.

They also note the work he’s doing to implement a coaching and training system for deploying 100 trained and endorsed Path 1 coaches to work with church planters. As New Church Systems Strategist, Shockley worked to organize the inaugural three-day Path 1 Coaching Forum held in January in Nashville.

Approximately 80 men and women from throughout the United States attended the forum that was conducted by 18 mentor-coaches, a diverse leadership group linked by their dedication to planting new United Methodist Churches throughout the United States.

The reason for initiating this event was that “planting new churches – now – is vital,” Shockley said at the time.

“We are doing a parallel thing at the School of Congregational Development each summer where we will focus on the other two key components of our coaching model -- consultation and facilitation,” he said.

The plan is for coach training to be carried out at both annual gatherings.

Shockley has played a key role in church growth as a pastor, consultant and coach and has been active in revitalizing existing congregations and planting new churches in Pennsylvania and in Florida.

His wife, Kim Shockley, is a consultant and facilitator who coaches pastors and mentors coaches in the Florida Annual Conference. They have two sons, Aaron and Jake.

GBOD’s mission is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, GBOD is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. Visit www.gbod.org for more information or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

McCord Named to Campus Ministry Staff

General Secretary Jerome King Del Pino is pleased to announce the appointment of the Rev. Michael McCord as director of Campus Ministry Resources and Training in the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Division of Higher Education.

McCord joins GBHEM on May 1, upon the recommendation of the search team and approval of the appointment by Bishop James R. King.

Rev. Michael McCord

“With this appointment, we continue to strengthen the Board’s commitment to campus ministry and chaplaincy as integral to The United Methodist Church’s mission in higher education,” Del Pino said. “Michael brings unique gifts and experiences through his work as a founding campus minister at the Wesley Foundation at Mercer University, Macon State College, and Wesleyan College.”

McCord was appointed in 2002 to start a Wesley Foundation at Mercer University with a $10,000 grant. A small board was formed and three students were recruited. That Wesley Foundation now serves more than 260 students on three campuses in Macon, Ga.– Mercer, Macon State, and Wesleyan.

Through his work at the Wesley Foundation, McCord has gained an in-depth knowledge of the work involved in building, developing, and maintaining a fruitful campus ministry. He has used these experiences to mentor and train other campus ministers around the nation.

McCord has served as a consultant for two campus ministry events, the Retreat at Student Forum and the biennial United Methodist Campus Ministers Association gathering. An ordained elder in the South Georgia Annual Conference, he received a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mercer University.

In his role as director of Campus Ministry Resources and Training, McCord will oversee the development of a comprehensive program for resource development and training of campus ministers and chaplains and continuing formation of campus ministry professionals. That includes development of materials for both print and electronic publication, training for new campus ministers and chaplains, and resources and training for annual conference Boards of Higher Education and Campus Ministry.

He will also work with international student movements to promote their effectiveness and develop resources that are relevant in multicultural settings across our global church. In addition, he will handle assignments associated with implementation of GBHEM’s Strategic Plan.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Jan. 28, 2010

On behalf of the Methodist Church in Haiti and the Haitian people, we thank you. Thank you all for your outpouring of love, support and Christian brotherhood in our great hour of need. Haiti has suffered a great tragedy, and to rebuild, recover and strengthen, it will take us all.

You have kept us in your prayers and we are grateful. You have sent donations through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). We thank you for your generosity. You have expressed your selfless interest in volunteering your time to come to Haiti to help with the recovery effort and we look forward to welcoming you.

In the coming days and weeks, the Methodist Church in Haiti will complete an assessment of thedamage and communities impacted by the earthquake, and will prioritize areas for relief and rehabilitation in partnership with UMCOR. Teams of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission will be integral in the long-term recovery of the church and communities in Haiti, and opportunities will soon be available to come and help in meaningful ways.

In the short-term, the immediate needs of providing emergency aid of food, water, shelter and medical care are being addressed by UMCOR and a host of national and international relief organizations and technical specialists. Soon, the work of clearing debris in preparation for rebuilding will be done by teams of locals in cash-for-work programs led by these same aid groups and local community groups, including the Methodist Church in Haiti. The participation of international volunteers is welcome after this initial emergency phase is complete, at which time the Methodist Church in Haiti will work closely with UMCOR and UMVIM to identify rehabilitation projects which match the needs prioritized in the country.

With great appreciation for the outpouring of support and offers to come in person to help volunteer in Haiti as quickly as possible, the Methodist Church in Haiti, in partnership with UMCOR, requests that volunteer teams consider delaying their arrival into Haiti in light of the following:

  •  The Methodist Church in Haiti and UMCOR are still undertaking assessments and evaluations in the 6 circuits most impacted by the earthquake, to determine the extent of the damage in church communities and beyond. Suitable projects and assignments for volunteer teams wishing to contribute to the recovery effort will not be identified until this process is complete.
  • The Methodist Guest House is currently being assessed for structural integrity, and will undergo some rehabilitation and reconstruction of the security wall before being brought to full capacity and security to host teams of volunteers.
  • Commercial flights into Haiti are currently suspended and all travel into Haiti must be done via the neighboring Dominican Republic. Once in Haiti, transportation and logistics are further complicated due to the influx of international aid groups and the reality of debris and closed roads.
  • The emergency relief and debris removal phase may last at least another one or two months, depending on the severity of the impact to the communities. Volunteers wishing to work on the programs identified as priority by the Methodist Church in Haiti and UMCOR can begin to schedule trips for late March and April, once this initial emergency response and recovery phase is completed.
  • Volunteer teams with pre-existing travel plans to Haiti are urged to reconsider the timing and nature of their trip, in order to allow for re-assessment and prioritization of earthquake recovery programs.
Please continue to communicate with us your interest in volunteering for the recovery effort, and we will connect you with recovery projects and rehabilitation programs as soon as possible. We thank you again for standing by us in this time of great need, and look forward to working in Christian partnership to build a better Haiti.

Rev. Gesner Paul
President, Eglise Méthodiste d’Haiti