Greetings from the District Superintendent
|Rev. June Edwards|
Dear Pastors and Leaders,
Happy Epiphany! Happy New Year! Thinking about all that 2019 may hold for us as a denomination, conference and district, I find that there are bright signs of hope in many places where God is already at work, in spite of the uncertainty of the outcome of the called General Conference in February. This is not a hope that is born out of wishing for good results, but it is an abiding hope that is grounded throughout the scriptural witness, the witness of those faithfully at work building the kingdom of God and the assurance of the Holy Spirit. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
As a conference we are focusing upon being On Mission Together. The same is true for our district. A good Wesleyan word for this is connection. We are part of a covenant connection as United Methodists working together to accomplish the mission that God has intended through Jesus Christ. This is how we live our lives together as Methodists and this must be our mindset.
Gil Rendle, in his latest book, ‘Quietly Courageous’, offers this quote from Alpesh Bhatt,
“For the past two decades, organizations have been grasping for ways to deal
with the alarming rate of change they are experiencing, both internally and in
the marketplace. We have developed countless methods for managing change
and, despite a completely abysmal record of results, we continue to see that the
issue is not one of method but of mindset.”
In the coming year, there are many good things before us as we share in this mindset of connectional ministry together. I list a few:
The establishment of a congregation at Lowell Correctional Prison. We received approval for the church to begin July 1st. We are On Mission Together in this! What a wonderful opportunity to live into Jesus’ mission statement in Luke 4:16-20!
A second site for Hispanic ministry—Nueva Vida Central begins January 13th, located at the former Druid Hills UMC site. Pray for this new congregation and the possibility for transformation for the 25,000 Hispanic folks nearby!
Examining new ways to strengthen and grow a comprehensive plan for Rural Church Ministry in the NC District. A team has formed to do just that!
Continue to encourage, grow and expand Fresh Expressions in our district. We are paving the way for others in our conference to follow.
But wait! There’s more! There is so much more that we are doing and being called to do as we respond faithfully as part of a connection that can do more together than by ourselves. Let’s work on our Connection mindset in 2019 as we move forward On Mission Together!
|Rev. Michael Beck|
Rev. Sarah Campbell
As we enter in a New Year, I encourage all pastors and church leaders to consider these seven commitments of renewal by Thom Rainer. If taken seriously, I believe they can help us all become more healthy and vital in our unique ministry and missional settings.
Seven Commitments of Renewal Every Church Leader Should Make for a New Year
By Thom Rainer
I admit it. I used to hate New Year resolutions. They seemed so contrived and short-termed. I’ve probably had resolutions to lose over 2,000 pounds over the course of my life.
Obviously, my resolutions have lacked staying power.
Still, I see the New Year as a time for recommitment and re-focus. And though it is simply the changing of the page of a calendar, it is still a good time to be reminded about those areas that are most important in our lives.
With that in mind, I have seven suggestions for church leaders. Consider these seven resolutions to be statements of renewal. Ask others to keep you accountable. Above all, ask God for the wisdom, strength, and perseverance to move these commitments of renewal to reality.
- A commitment to move beyond the inward drift in our church. It does not take long for a church to lose its outward focus. It does not take a long time for the tyranny of the urgent to replace the priority of the important. It does not take a long time for most ministries and activities to be focused inwardly instead of outwardly toward the community we serve.
- A commitment to renew our attitude. Leading a church is tough. But God has called us to serve in the messiness of life and people. We all can use renewal of our attitude toward others and towards our life situation.
- A commitment to become a more grateful leader. It can be natural to focus on the negative, the naysayers, and nitpickers. But we need to turn to prayer and ask for supernatural help in focusing on all the blessings God gives us. A review of Philippians 4:8 would be helpful as well.
- A commitment to be a leader of greater faith and courage. Again, this commitment cannot be realized in our own strength and power. But we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
- A commitment to be the leader who realizes our family is our first line of ministry. We seek not to fall into the trap of putting family in opposition to church. First Timothy 3:5 is a clear reminder that our families are our first line of ministry. We can’t be blessed in the totality of our ministry if we are lacking there.
- A commitment to clear ourselves from too many activities. We often expect ourselves to participate in so many activities that we neglect caring for our families, for our health, and our ministries.
- A commitment to be an Acts 6:4 leader. If we are not giving focused attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word, we need to get out of vocational ministry. Ministry has become human-powered rather than God-centered.
I remain an obnoxious optimist about the local church. I see God working in so many great ways. I have no reason to believe 2019 will not be a great year for our congregations, especially if our leaders are willing to make these commitments of renewal.
Happy New Year!
Spring Clergy Meeting
February 21, 2019 8:30am - 4:00pm First UMC, Orlando
An Opportunity and An Invitation
Rev. Bob Bushong, Superintendent of the East Central District, has graciously offered the opportunity for any clergy in our conference to attend this workshop entitled, “Building Bridges in a #metoo World.” It will be led by Dr. Elaine Heath and Jeanine Sparks. This will be a required meeting for pastors in the EC District but it is optional for you. I strongly encourage you to consider attending due to the excellent presenters. Also, later this year, there will be training offered by the Office of Clergy Excellence that will be mandatory attendance.
Building Bridges in a #meToo World
Dr. Elaine Heath, Missional and Pastoral Theologian
Jeanine Sparks, Licensed Professional Counselor
ECD clergy serving full time in the local church are expected to attend. If you absolutely cannot attend, please email Dr. Bob Bushong and request to be excused.
All clergy in the Florida Conference are welcome to attend.
Spring Clergy Team Meeting
Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 9:30 am at the new Lake Deaton Campus of New Covenant. This is for all part-time/full-time NCD Clergy.
New Covenant Lake Deaton Campus address: 6500 County Road 143, Wildwood FL 34785
Please make this time together a priority in your schedule. If you absolutely cannot make it due to a previous commitment, please call Rev. June Edwards to request to be excused.
Lunch will be served at the meeting, please click here to confirm your attendance.
Change of Date Coming!
The pioneering work we have done together in the North Central District is having an impact beyond ourselves. The value of a “Steeple to the Streets” model of engaging churches with their communities has been recognized. Though we had set dates for the 2019 “Steeple to the Streets” in March, Bishop Carter has invited all of the churches in the Florida Conference to plan and participate in what will be called an “On Mission Together” weekend in May. More details will be shared in the coming months. Any planning you have done for this year will help you to be ready for the May event. Not only will we as a district go out into our communities and prayerfully listen to what God is up to, but we will be doing this as a whole conference! Get your churches ready for May 3-5, as we go On Mission Together from the Steeple to the Streets! More details to come...
Natural Church Development Survey 2019
It has been almost two years since the North Central District churches completed the Natural Church Development (Nat Ch Dev) Survey; developed your action plan; and put into action that plan to improve your minimum factor. This year’s Nat Ch Dev survey will be conducted on a voluntary basis. If a church wants to check its progress, it can request the survey and the District will play the $170 for the survey. The process for obtaining the survey will be to call or email Larry Taylor. He will obtain the Nat Ch Dec survey and make sure the survey gets to your church with the appropriate survey instructions. Why take the Nat Ch Dev survey again? It will show you how effective your efforts were in raising your minimum factor rating. Remember – if you raised your minimum factor, all your other seven quality characteristics should be better than they were. For more details or obtain a survey contact Larry at 352 750-9092 or email email@example.com
Annual Conference 2019 set to take place at Florida Southern College
Make plans now to attend Annual Conference 2019 by booking your hotel rooms early. A list of hotels and rates can be found HERE. Housing will also be available at Florida Southern College (details forthcoming).
As you make your plans, the Annual Conference planning team wanted you to be aware of the following:
1) Our theme is “On Mission Together,” and we will welcome Bishop Will Willimon, missiologist Dr. Dana Robert, along with musical leaders Jarvis Wilson and Keith Wilson.
2) Annual Conference will begin on Wednesday, June 5, with clergy and lay sessions at 10 a.m. We will conclude with the Service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination on Saturday, June 8, adjourning at 12:30 p.m.
3) We will be voting on delegates to General Conference 2020, with chances to meet delegates Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
4) All registration will take place at Florida Southern College, as will the clergy and lay sessions.
5) Florida Southern has added new parking shuttles and golf carts.
6) We will have an air-conditioned tent near Branscomb Auditorium which will be a place to eat and fellowship with other delegates.
North Central District will have two Pre-Annual Conference Orientation on Monday, May 6th at First Ocala UMC, Family Life Center and Tuesday, May 7th at Mariner UMC at 6:30 pm.
Rev. June Edwards will discuss 2019 Annual Conference and give a report of the 2019 General Conference.
Professional Administrators of United Methodist Connectional Structure
February 16, 2019 - LEC
If you are in an Administrative role in the local church, we hope you will join us at the 45th Annual Seminar of the Florida Chapter PAUMCS. This seminar offers a chance to renew and refresh at the Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park. We have a great day planned for you that includes information, rest & relaxation. Registration beings at 7:30am in the Lee Pearson Building. The seminar will be from 8:45am - 4:00pm. Click HERE for the details and registration form.
Questions? Contact Lynn Campbell firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCYM - Dare to Explore
February 15 - 17, 2019 - Warren W. Willis
Dare to Explore is a student leadership retreat for students by students. This is a great event to bring your student leaders (or those whom you'd like to become students leaders) to, in whatever form that takes in your local church. For some that is their whole youth group, for others it is a core group of student leaders. The registration is $90 per person. Click HERE for the Dare page. Registration will open in October. We can't wait to see you and your team. No matter where you are on your spiritual walk, be prepared to explore!
January 8, 2019 - SPRC Training - Mt. Pleasant UMC, Gainesville - 6:30 pm Fellowship Hall. No reservations required.
January 10, 2019 - SPRC Training - First Spring Hill UMC. - 6:30pm. No reservations required.
January 11-12 Pioneer Learning Community (First retreat and May 31- June 1, 2019, second retreat) at New Covenant, The Villages UMC Lake Deaton Campus. For more information and reservations, please click here.
January 21 - Conference & District Office Closed
February 9, 2019 - NC District Training Event "Welcome To The Future" , First Ocala UMC, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
February 18 - Conference & District Office Closed
March 2, 2019 - Bible School and Beyond - Best Practices for Family Ministry
9 am - 3 pm - First Ocala UMC - Family Life Center, please
click here for more information.
March 19 - Clergy Team Meeting - New Covenant Lake Deaton Campus at 9:30 am
May 3-5 - "On Mission Together" - More details to come...
May 6 - Pre-Conference Orientation First Ocala, Family Life Center at 6:30 pm
May 7 - Pre-Conference Orientation Mariner UMC, at 6:30 pm