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Connecting to Purpose

Adopted by the Cabinet and the Strategic Leadership Team of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church on September 16, 2014.

Our Purpose:  
Together we are called to make disciples of Jesus Christ in the Wesleyan tradition who participate in the mission of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our roles and relationships within the larger purpose:
+The Individual (Discipleship)
1. Develop a plan or process for discipleship: growth in grace and holiness which reflects the compassion and justice of God.
2. Help clergy and laity to develop relationships with persons outside the church.
+The Congregation (Missional Engagement)
1. Cultivate an external focus on the community/neighborhood (mission-field).
2. Plant fresh expressions* of Christianity in the culture through identification of “third places”* and development of micro-communities.*
+The Teaching Church (Multiplication)
1. Share best practices* with congregations in need of growth plans* toward viability.
2. Help prevailing churches* to sense that a part of their brand is the renewal of the Florida Conference.
+The District (Connection)
1. Develop small groups* that connect clergy and laity with each other in healthy ways.
2. Develop a missional strategy* unique to that region of the conference.
+The Conference (Alignment)
1. Identify leaders who can align resources with systems that support individuals, congregations, districts and connectional ministries [primarily the Cabinet and the SLT].
2. Align resources (people, money) in ways that increase the number of vital congregations [Call to Action].
The Clergy are disciples who disciple others. 
The Laity are missionaries.
The Teaching Church is a resource center.
The District Superintendent is a missional strategist.
The Bishop is a leader of leaders.
The Cabinet and Strategic Leadership Team evaluate and improve the systems of the Annual Conference so they stay connected to the purpose.
Connecting to Purpose:  See The Practice of Adaptive Leadership (Heifetz, Grashow, Linsky), pp. 38-40.
Third Places:  In the past the first two places were home and work, and in a church culture the third place was the church. Today the third place might be a coffee shop, a pub, a sports organization, an arts scene, or digital media.
Growth Plans: Janet Earls is presently working on growth plans, and a few district staff and committees are as well.  A growth plan is needed when a church is on a plateau, or in a downward trend.
Micro-communities:  Such as the emerging Young Adult Missional Movement of the Florida Conference; see also the writings of Elaine Heath. 
Missional Strategy:  The 2012 Discipline defines the work of the district superintendent as missional strategist.  This can be resourced through processes such as SLI, Coach Training, etc.
Best Practices:  Several congregations in the Florida Conference are known as teaching churches that share best practices:  Hyde Park (Large Church Initiative), St. Luke’s, Grace (Grace in Action), Van Dyke (Real Ideas) and Anona (Natural Church Development), among others.
Small Groups:  Superintendents are in the process of developing small groups for accountability and support within their districts.  They are also in conversation with their district lay leaders about how this complements the small group emphasis of the Board of Lay Ministry.
Fresh Expressions:  A movement of church renewal begun by the Church of England; at a very early stage the British Methodist Church joined in the initiative as a full partner.  
Prevailing Churches:  Congregations that defy demographics and economics in order to expand the influence of God’s Kingdom in a community, region or beyond.