At the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event delegates approved restructuring the conference's districts and forming church clusters. Dissolving the Conference Council on Ministries (CCOM) and developing a new structure for conference staff were also approved.
As a result of those changes, the CCOM ceased to exist as of the 2005 Florida Annual Conference Event. CCOM staff are now attached to the Connectional Ministries office, led by the Rev. Sharon Austin, but their roles will evolve and change as needs within the conference change.
CCOM staff were traditionally responsible for directing long-standing ministry areas led by teams and committees. Under the new structure, a group of 15 laity and clergy will work together as the Leadership Connection to form focused task teams that will both strategically think about specific areas of interest and concern to the conference and meet identified needs. Each team formed to work on a specific issue will develop its goals and complete its work, then cease to exist unless the need for it to continue remains. Specific teams will also be formed to accomplish tasks required by the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church or conference Standing Rules.
Leadership Connection members were elected by delegates at the 2005 annual conference. The group will work under the direction of the Connectional Ministries office.
Within that new framework, conference staff will operate more like floaters between ministry areas, such as New Church Development or Congregational Transformation, accepting new tasks as needs arise. They will also play a significant role in researching needs of the church and society across the state and providing information about those issues to local churches so they may respond.
The overall goal is to move the conference away from maintaining programs and toward identifying and fulfilling leadership and ministry needs. The Leadership Connection will equip groups within the conference to make disciples of Jesus Christ and focus more on providing information to churches and groups, researching ministry trends and needs, developing ministries and equipping people for those ministries, and seeking and evaluating input and feedback to assist in future research.
Through these changes, it is hoped more people in the conference will be empowered to begin new ministries that align with both the vision and mission of the conference and their own calling and passion.