Leading Like Jesus is the theme of the 2016 Annual Conference, and pre-conference leadership gatherings will launch the topic and include tracks tailored for laity and clergy. All sessions will be held on Wednesday, June 15, at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Orlando.
The slate of facilitators includes leaders, authors, teachers, preachers and entrepreneurs. Click here for biographies of the workshop leaders. Below are short descriptions of the session topics.
Click here to register for the laity track (clergy may attend), and click here to register for the clergy track.
Spiritual Gifts (9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.)
Bishop Ken Carter, Facilitator
A primary image of leadership in the New Testament is service through a person's spiritual gifts. We will read the three passages in the New Testament that describe spiritual gifts—Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Ephesians 4. Each participant will take a brief inventory of his or her spiritual gifts, and we will conclude with a discussion of some of the strengths and challenges of gift-based leadership in the local church. This is designed for laity and clergy. Rachel Sumner, one of our Florida Conference associate lay leaders, will join Bishop Carter for this presentation.
FlameBuilders (10:45 a.m. – Noon)
Cindy Thompson, Facilitator
In response to the growing number of young adults leaving the church, Boundless Impact, a nonprofit organization fostering global connections in North Carolina, partnered with the Western North Carolina Conference (WNCC) of The United Methodist Church, Center for Creative Leadership and UMC-affiliated higher education institutions, to launch FlameBuilders in September 2014. The name FlameBuilders is inspired by 1 Thes. 5:19 – "Do not put out the Spirit’s fire."
This global leadership and spiritual development institute engages young adult lay leaders representing diverse ethnic, race, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds. Over nine monthly sessions, they receive world-class boundary-spanning leadership training and graduate having each developed their Pathway for Impact - a measurable plan of action that benefits their churches, campuses, local communities, and the world. Cindy will share the story of FlameBuilders and the impact it is having on young adults and the Western NC Conference. Derrick Scott, the director of Campus to City, Wesley Foundation, and one of our Annual Conference associate lay leaders, will join Cindy, representing our young adult connection with her presentation.
Multiculturalism/Inclusivity (2 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.)
Rev. Dr. Harold D. Lewis, Sr., Facilitator
Subtitled “Embracing Our Beloved Community in a Multi-Cultural Context,” this presentation will focus on how to recognize, understand and appreciate the differences that make up not only the church but also persons living in the broader community. The primary objectives of this presentation will include: how to engage and interact with others in a safe space; how RACE is just an illusion, yet profoundly real; how what we do or don’t do in challenging the “isms” impacts church and community effectiveness, and equipping the participants with tools and language to talk about race and all of the “isms” that plague our world. Becky Jordan, a member in a significant leadership position at New Hope UMC, Brandon, and part of the South Central District leadership team, will join Dr. Lewis for this presentation.
Spiritual Leadership, Inc. (SLI) (3:45 p.m. – 5 p.m.)
Craig Robertson, Facilitator
In this session Craig will be sharing some of the leadership principles that help churches thrive and lead like Jesus in these times. Participants should leave with some practical tools that will help create healthy environments that foster transformation and fruitfulness.
SLI is a coaching organization whose work is accomplished through a walk-along-side coaching process with a group of 5-12 leaders and an SLI coach. Within this process, members of churches and other organizations first grow in their faithfulness to God and then their fruitfulness for God. The latter is accomplished by learning the language of leadership and a set of cutting edge tools and processes for leading, then applying this learning through leading the organizations of which they are a part. Our approach is unique in that it starts with a focus on developing spiritually, then builds on that base expanding from growing the participants, to the team, followed by the organization and finally the community. Surprising to most participants, they grow in their spiritual maturity through these projects. This proven approach has begun the work of transforming leaders, churches, businesses, and communities. Pastor Dan Prine and worship leader Will Gann, both of Edgewater UMC, Port Charlotte, will join Craig as they share their experiences with SLI’s resources from the local church perspective.
Institute of Preaching and Marcy Preaching Fellowship (9:00 a.m. -10:15 a.m.)
Dr. Jim Harnish and Dr. Charley Reeb, Facilitators
The Institute of Preaching is designed to help already capable preachers who are open to personal development through dialogue and reflection with their peers. For that reason, the Institute is open to all full-time Elders and Local Pastors in the Florida Conference with at least five years of experience of preaching on a regular basis and who do not anticipate a change in appointment in the coming year. The Marcy Preaching Fellowship is a cooperative effort between the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. Its purpose is to help good preachers become excellent preachers.
Simpkins Wesley Study Retreat (10:45 a.m. - Noon)
Bishop Bob Fannin and Rev. Phil Roughton, Facilitators
The Wesley Study Retreat is based at Oxford University in Oxford, England, each summer, usually during the month of August. The participants travel from Oxford to visit the Wesley sites such as Epworth, Bristol and City Road, as well as many others, hearing presentations by local Wesley scholars. There are also several days in London, where the participants worship at Wesley’s Chapel and visit Wesley's home.
Reynolds Leadership Program (2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.)
Rev. Janice Virtue, Facilitator
The Royce and Jane Reynolds program in Church Leadership is a yearlong joint venture between the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina Inc. and the Center for Creative Leadership, an international nonprofit educational institution. Created out of a deep concern for the development of effective pastoral leaders for Christ’s church, the goal of the program is to assist strong pastors in becoming congregational leaders who develop a clear vision of the church. Participants are invited into a study of their leadership gifts and challenges, and the impact of those gifts and challenges on the creation of congregational vision, its articulation and its fulfillment.
Courage to Lead (3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Rev. David Dodge and Rev. Janice Virtue, Facilitators
The Courage to Lead retreat program consists of a cohort of up to 25 clergy leaders who gather for four quarterly retreats of three-days each over a period of one year. In large-group, small-group and solitary settings, participants share their inner journeys via personal story-telling, poetry and teaching tales from various wisdom traditions. Guided by skilled facilitators, participants will be invited to speak honestly about their lives and work and to listen and respond to each other - and to themselves – with courage and compassion as a unique community of trust is formed.