The Foundation for Evangelism is pleased to recognize First United Methodist Church in Winfield, Kansas with the 2013 Culture of the Call Church Award. This award is given annually to recognize one local congregation of The United Methodist Church with a history of helping young people age 35 or younger experience God’s call to full [...]
Right about now, my inbox starts to fill up with inquiries about seminary. Here’s what I usually tell people who are in the seminary discernment process. It’s true what they say: What you get out of seminary depends mostly on what you put into it. There are superb faculty – and superb students – in [...]
The Catapult Conference was held at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, AL, September 26-28. It is an initiative launched by the Mobile District of the Alabama-West Florida Conference and has become a significant missional catalyst for the larger region. The conference is part of a broad effort to help our congregations better reach their communities in the name of Jesus Christ. We believe that “missional” properly understood is “evangelism” properly done. Three years into this emphasis, many congregations are increasingly in ministry “out there” with people who would never have darkened the doors of our churches. This year’s Catapult Conference was challenging, inspiring, and deeply nourishing. It is already being used of God to increase our faithfulness in the mission fields that surround us.
Our work in the Mobile area is affiliated with the Forge organization – a missional training network originating in Australia. We were pleased to have the founders of Forge as keynote speakers: Alan Hirsch, Debra Hirsch, and Michael Frost. Other speakers included Dave Gibbons (NewSong), Mark Beeson (Granger Community Church), John Edgar (Church for All People), and Elaine Heath (Southern Methodist University and Perkins School of Theology). Breakout sessions were offered for a wide range of interests and were designed to help participants become missional in their own unique contexts.
As the youngest person from the North Texas Conference to be elected leader of the lay delegation, Ricky Harrison is part of a new generation of delegates to the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. A 19-year-old sophomore at McMurray College, Ricky’s election made history at the 2011 North Texas Conference. He was elected on the first ballot.
Ricky Harrison has been active at First UMC Richardson and was previous chair of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry. He is the son of Charles Harrison, a trustee of The Foundation for Evangelism, and Executive Director of Youth Worker Movement. In an interview, Ricky told us about himself, his goals, and his future as a lay delegate.
My name is Ricky Harrison and this past June I was elected by the North Texas Annual Conference to co-lead the North Texas General Conference Delegation. As a nineteen year old college sophomore studying at McMurry University I am excited about this opportunity to engage in meaningful leadership with the North Texas Delegation. I have been involved extensively in Church leadership as a young person for the past six years. I’ve served at many levels of church leadership including at my local church, District, Conference, Jurisdiction, and in the Global Church where I was elected to serve as a voting delegate to the Global Young People’s Convocation in Berlin, Germany last summer.
I firmly believe that God selects places, times and communities for us, and in those special situations, opens our eyes for a season of discernment. At which times, He expects a response to His call. I experienced such a season in my life during the spring of 2007. My friend, Ron Deloney, led a Disciple Bible Study class from the new generation of DBS entitled, Jesus in the Gospels. Only a few weeks into the daily reading, I knew the scripture was speaking to me! I heard a brave, assertive Jesus telling the establishment that law was certainly good, but it was insufficient. I heard a loving, understanding Jesus tell disciples that he had a mission for them that meant that they go from their comfort zone into an unknown world. The more I read, the more agitated I became. My prayers for solace seemed hollow. I kept hearing these bold action verbs, and they seemed to be addressed to me. “Go,” “Do,” “Work,” “Teach,” “Heal,” “Pray,” I realized that the Jesus to whom I had offered my life in exchange for His saving grace is a radical God. He expected me at age sixty-three to forget about retirement, forget about Rheumatoid Arthritis, forget about all the excuses that I had neatly arranged and filed under a bold capital “C” for Can’t. I needed to select some action verbs and begin living them.
The Foundation for Evangelism’s 2011 Culture of the Call Church is Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames, Iowa. The Culture of the Call Church Award is presented annually to one United Methodist Church with a history of having people 35 of younger respond to God’s call to fulltime Christian service as a result of their being active in the life of the church. Director of Discipleship, Technology and Communication, Wil Ranney, took a moment to discuss their move into using today’s Social Media tools to communicate and build relationships with their congregation online…
The biggest challenge facing established churches in online ministry is internet literacy amongst our oldest members. Often times, decision makers will have these great wizbang ideas that never catch on, because they can’t seem to get the critical mass involved that it takes to form a vibrant online community. Since our elders make up the majority of established congregations, they must also make up the core of our online ministries. The second problem is related to the first: you can’t just start a website or a Facebook page and expect people to use them. It takes a deliberate plan to get people involved, just like any other church program. The good news is that once online ministries are up and running, they often take less effort to maintain, as the community itself is empowered to contribute.
Liberty Crossings United Methodist Church is a unique church. Nestled in the woods just outside Birmingham, AL, Liberty Crossings is approximately 10 years old. In the past year and a half, we have seen our average worship attendance rapidly rise from 195 in 2009 to 358 YTD. Thus far in 2011, we have seen a net increase of 38 new members, and we have 5 families who have requested to join but are waiting for our new member class to begin again. These new member numbers would be higher, but we are also in the midst of purging our rolls by sending letters to people who have moved away. In terms of worship, we offer traditional and contemporary worship and regularly incorporate multimedia resources into both services.
In the Fall of 2004, The Foundation for Evangelism highlighted a special piece on a new church plant. Rev. John Kenney, a member of the Fitzgerald Program for New Church Pastors kept a diary of his experience of planting the new church, The Quest Church.We followed up with Pastor Kenney to see what a difference transforming lives through Jesus Christ for 6 years makes and where the church plant is at today.
Here is what he wrote.
Guy Chmieleski is the university minister at Belmont University and has 14 years experience in the field of Campus Ministry at 4 different institutions. Guy is also the webmaster for Faith on Campus, a Campus Ministries website dealing with the impact of the transforming love of Jesus Christ on young adults heading to or in college. The site is also host to regular blog-a-thons from various members in the United Methodist community like Ashlee Alley, Josh Hale and more.
Raymond Hayes talked with Guy through email and asked about his website, his goals for the site and where he sees it headed…
A God-Sized Vision to Impact the Leadership of the Church
Imagine 1,500 United Methodist local church pastors, who experience a level of personal and spiritual transformation rivaling all others, leading local churches to become faithful and fruitful. This is the God-sized vision of Grace Spiritual Leadership Academy.
The Time is Now
Jorge Acevedo, Senior Pastor Grace Church, Florida — Around my 10th year at Grace Church, I was looking for an out. By the grace of God, I was introduced to and began working with the team at Spiritual Leadership, Inc.
Leaders need more than information, they need contextual translation andthey need transformation into a new type of spiritual leader. Shifting the leadership paradigm requires a shift in behaviors and an accountability that continues to point toward fruitfulness over time. In our United Methodist denomination a void exists in leadership development beyond the seminary setting. With each conference independent of others, unique challenges are faced, and some church leaders are simply operating in maintenance mode. The system needs an awakening and a new understanding of spiritual leadership and community that extends beyond the walls of the church building.