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NCD October 2018 Newsletter


Greetings from the District Superintendent

 Rev. June Edwards


Dear NC District Pastors and Leaders!


I hope by now all of your leadership has October 20th Super Charged Charge Conference on your calendars! I am looking forward to a great time of being together in one place for worship, hearing some of the good things going on in churches in the district as well as hearing how we are ON MISSION TOGETHER, the Florida Conference Mission and Vision which we are being called to live into. It will be an exciting morning!




There will be two opportunities to participate in a Mission Offering specific to the NC District:

  • Bring items listed below for the residents of Open Arms Village, housed at St. Mark’s UMC, Ocala

Personal sizes of:


Shaving Cream







Bath towels

  • Bring an offering that will go toward the start-up of a new UMC in the Lowell Women’s prison in 2019.

Both of these are great ministries that will touch the lives of many directly with the love and grace of God.

As it goes with setting calendars in advance, there are inevitably competing events. I wanted to be sure and highlight that additionally on October 20th, there is a Conference Table Gathering held at First UMC, Lakeland for anyone interested in meeting with the delegates going to the special called General Conference to take place in February 2019. Though these dates conflict, those from your congregation who are not part of the Charge Conference are encouraged to attend. There is a possibility that it will be videotaped as well as the potential of having an additional webcast with the delegation at a later date, as both the NE and NC districts are affected. As information becomes available it will be shared.

With so much swirling around us, even another hurricane forming in the Gulf, may we be reminders one to another, that the ground of faith on which we stand in Jesus Christ is solid. I encourage you to pray for one another, for the churches in the NC District, for our conference and our leader Bishop Carter. As the Psalmist writes in Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”

Grace and Peace,


 Rev. Michael Beck

Pioneering Can Break Your Heart. Here are Eight Ways to Strengthen and Protect It

Being sent out to pioneer is a “lambs in the midst of wolves” kind of endeavor (Luke 10:1-6). We must be called and gifted by the Spirit to do it, and we must always do it in community with others, but there are certain practices that can sustain us in this long, challenging, and slow work.

This is another installment of a series of posts on sustaining health as a pioneer. This article will address another important factor in pioneering frontline ministry—emotional health.

Before we can fruitful in our work for God, we must be faithful in our walk with God. Sustainability, healthy boundaries and intentional spiritual disciplines precede and undergird any conversation about keys to effective pioneering. I have been following the outline that Jesus offers in his Great Commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, and love each other.

We were created to love. The key to be a healthy integrated human is loving God with every dimension of our being and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Today I offer a reflection on the heart.

Please click here to read more. 

Congregational Vitality

Rev. Sarah Campbell

As we work together toward increasing congregational health and vitality, we will offer assistance in helping your church launch and evaluate ministry possibilities. The following article offers three guidelines that will help your church discern if a proposed or existing ministry opportunity has potential or is effective. How can your church, in its unique missional and ministry context, use the following questions to develop ministry opportunities that will help make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?

3 Key Questions for Evaluating Ministry Possibilities

By Aaron M. Bouwens 

The church council meeting has been moving along just fine when out of nowhere someone suggests a new ministry possibility, and a decision-making process based on popularity and charisma is employed. Are there key persons in the congregation advocating or supporting the idea? Is the idea being presented with enough passion and charisma to wow the group into approving it?

Many congregations use this style of decision making. It can yield good, productive ideas. But many times, it leads to unfruitful ministries that divert resources of time, talent, and treasure from more promising opportunities. And once a poor decision is made, it can be virtually impossible to reverse course or end an unproductive program.

When these three questions are used on an ongoing basis, congregations are better positioned to engage in sustained, fruitful ministries that participate with God in the transformation of the world.

Any congregation can make decisions a better way by asking three key questions.

1. Is it consistent with the congregation’s mission and vision?

This may seem like a simple, almost trite, question. But it is the most important question, and it should be asked with every decision. It requires that a congregation be clear about its mission and vision. When the mission and vision are more than just a slogan printed on publications, when they have taken root in the life of the church, they generate a focus for ministry that increases the possibility of fruitful decision making.

What if an idea or possibility is not consistent with the mission and vision? Then there is an opportunity to help shape the idea to make it consistent. Ask follow-up questions such as, “What adaptations need to be made so that there is consistency with the mission and vision?”

2. Is there a team to support the ministry?

All too often, ministries become the passion and responsibility of one person. When that person is no longer able to drive the ministry, it often disappears. A team approach enhances the likelihood of long-term fruitfulness. Congregations employing team-based leadership generally have healthier and more effective ministries. Solo heroic leadership has never been healthy for the church, yet it is often practiced.

In congregations that have dabbled in team-based ministry, leaders have been known to bring a team list forward when the team exists in name only. It’s important to make sure there is a functioning team in place, not just a list of names. A proponent of a new idea should be encouraged to develop a team before presenting the idea for consideration.

3. Are there enough resources to support the new ministry?

This becomes the key question after the first two questions have been successfully navigated. The question of resources includes financial planning but does not stop there. What level of congregational participation is expected? What physical space will be needed? How often will people need to be engaged?

Church leaders have a responsibility to consider the overall amount of time, money, and energy being asked of the congregation as a whole. Overwhelming a congregation with too many demands can limit the fruitfulness of all the ministries, not just the new idea. Having a plan for resources also helps build sustainability from the beginning. All too often great ministries struggle because insufficient attention was given to the need for adequate resources when starting and developing a new idea.

Putting it all together

It’s tempting to skip or postpone answering one or more of these questions. But for this style of decision making to be most effective, the three questions need to be asked consistently and in order: ask first about consistency with mission and vision; then ask about the team; and, finally, ask about resources.

Congregations should commit to start new ministries only when all three questions are answered affirmatively. If “no” is the answer to any of the questions, there is always the opportunity to adapt and refine the idea to move toward a “yes” answer. Once the answer to all three questions is “yes”, the idea is greenlighted.

These three questions can be used not only for new ideas, but to evaluate ongoing ministries as well. A program’s connection to mission and vision can drift, teams can shift and deteriorate, resources can be depleted, or needs can change. So, it can be helpful to apply the filter of these three questions to all of a church’s ministries on a regular basis, perhaps every 12 to 18 months.

When these three questions are used on an ongoing basis, congregations are better positioned to engage in sustained, fruitful ministries that participate with God in the transformation of the world.

Rev. Sarah R. Campbell

North Central District Congregational Vitality Specialist

2018 Super Church Conference




Super-Charged Conference

Are you ready for October 20th? Not only are we ready but we are excited! Here are just a few reminders:

  • We are not collecting your charge conference packet before October 20th. Bring your packet at that time.
  • We only need one copy of your charge conference packet at the event. 
  • Please have one person from each church (preferably the senior pastor) to come to the check-in area and pick up your sign-in sheet.
  • Be there before 9 a.m. We will begin promptly at 9 a.m. 
  • We are not serving breakfast, only coffee and water will be serve. Be sure to take care of that before you get there. 
  • Bring your donations! for the Prison Ministry of Open Arms Villages and the Women at Lowell Corrections Institution. 
  • Plan to stay for the duration. We are doing great things during this event. We know you don't want to miss anything.
  • Read the Charge Conference Tips & FAQ document for a more extensive overview of the event. 
  • 2018 leadership should be entered into the Church Dashboard within seven days of Super-Charged Conference. Click HERE to get the different tutorials. Click on the Leadership link once you are there. There are videos and also printable guide sheets.  Important - Leaders email addresses and phone numbers should be entered.
  • After the Charge Conference will be serving Hot dogs, chip and a cookie. 
  • Get ready to have fun, love, learn and lead with us! See you on October 20th @ New Covenant UMC, The Villages. 


North Central District - Annual Training Event

"Jesus calls his disciples to be First Responders, those who run towards not away from the future. “Welcome to the Future” is a First Responders boot-camp to help you and your church arrive quickly on the scene, assess the situation and assist the Spirit who is the real First Responder. This day is not a crash course in first-aid skills but a first course in how to first-edition faith, first-noel hope, and first-person love in a future that will be some of the greatest churning cauldrons of danger and disaster the world has ever seen." -Len Sweet 


Saturday, February 9, 2019
9:00 am to 3:00 pm

First Ocala UMC, Family Life Center
(1126 E Silver Springs Blvd. Ocala FL 34470) 

$10.00 Registration Fee 

Please click here to register. 


Warren W. Willis Retreat

Warren W. Willis is not just for Summer Camp...although that is an amazing time! Click on any of the following links for information on the wonderful programs you and your church can attend.
Connect:  Oct. 19-21, 2018; Nov. 9-11, 2018

Plan Your Own Church Retreat:  Who doesn't love WWW?  Why not plan your own retreat 


Clergy Gathering
January 29 - February 1, 2019 - Epworth By The Sea

In lieu of our Clergy Gathering which had been tentatively scheduled October 23 - 24, 2018, we are inviting you to attend the Winter Conference at Epworth By The Sea, January 29 - February 1, 2019. This will be a combined event with the Bishops and clergy of the North Georgia, Mississippi, South Georgia and Florida Conferences. Dr. Tod Bolinger, author of Canoeing The Mountains, will be the keynote speaker. 

Be sure to register soon as we expect this to be a sold out event.

Click HERE to register.  Click HERE for the flyer.



This month is recognized as a time for congregations to show their appreciation, love and support for their pastors. Click HERE for ideas on how to celebrate your pastor.



2020 Self-Nomination Process is Open

The planning and preparation for the 2019 session of the Florida Annual Conference is well under way. During the 2019 session, we will also be electing Lay and Clergy members to represent our Annual Conference as delegates to the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Being elected to serve as a delegate is quite an honor that carries a lot of responsibility.

Who can be elected as a delegate to represent the Florida Annual Conference?

The Florida Annual Conference uses an on-line self-nomination process. Anyone who: (1) senses the leading of God to serve as a delegate, (2) who meets all of the Disciplinary eligibility requirements, (3) who successfully completes the self-nomination process before the February 15, 2019, deadline or (4) who successfully completes the self-nomination process during the Lay or Clergy Sessions on the first day of Annual Conference, can have their name placed on the ballot for election at the 2019 Annual Conference Session in Lakeland, Florida.

How do I know if I’m being called to serve as a delegate? Let me suggest the following:

• Begin with a time of prayer and reflection. Explore your thoughts and feelings with God. Ask God for the wisdom and understanding to know how best to serve.
• Take time to study the issues affecting The United Methodist Church, our Annual Conference, our congregations, and our world. What are the social, spiritual, theological and moral concerns which need to be addressed by our denomination?
• Ask someone whom you trust to help you to discern whether your gifts and skills, intuition and insight, learning and leadership have prepared you to serve as a delegate at this time.
• Reflect deeply on one of the required essay questions. As a delegate, what particular things could/would you do to help The United Methodist Church to fulfill its purpose and mission around the world?
• After having done all of the above, and sensing God’s call to serve, place your name on the ballot by completing the self-nomination process found on the Conference website. Click here to access it. The on-line nomination process will remain open until midnight on February 15, 2019. If you have questions about the eligibility requirements or the self-nomination process, call, write, or email me using the information below. I will assist you in every way possible.


Beth Gardner, Annual Conference Secretary


Leadership Deep Dive

Leadership in the local church should be a balance of strong committed leaders partnering with their clergy to see through the vision and ministry of the church. For 22 years, Grace Church has been shaping how leadership is lived out on the main campus of Grace Church, as well as four additional campuses. With core values of reach/connect/form/send as a disciple-making system, with covenant and expectations of leaders, Grace uses a team approach for leadership. Come learn more about what it is like to have strong lay leaders, leadership teams that work together, and sharing of tips and failures from the Grace family.

Current Open Registrations:
Discipleship - October 15-16, 2018 - North Naples UMC
Systems and Properties - October 30-31, 2018 - New Covenant, The Villages
Finance - November 5-6, 2018 - First UMC Lakeland

Click HERE for details and registration.


United Methodist Connectional FCU
Celebrates The 70th Anniversary of International Credit Union Day

On October 18, the United Methodist Connectional FCU will, along with more than 56,000 credit unions around the world, celebrate International Credit Union Day (ICU Day), and the philosophy and achievements of the credit union movement.

Come enjoy a festive environment with some great refreshments, music, giveaways ($100 gift card and $200 Visa Gift Card (see terms below) phenomenal services and products special promotions (Car Sale Oct. 1-22) at either location:

United Methodist Connectional FCU celebrates ICU Day because it believes the not-for-profit structure and people-first principles of credit unions make them the ideal financial partners for all people. This year’s ICU Day theme is “Find Your Platinum Lining in Credit Unions,” a celebration combining the traditional gift of platinum for 70th anniversaries with a play on the saying “every cloud has a silver lining.”

The public is welcome to stop by the branch during business hours 10a-4p. Refreshments served @ 12 noon.

Florida Office
450 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Lakeland, FL 33815

and celebrate with your trusted UMC FCU a worldwide movement that’s made helping people its No. 1 priority for more than 160 years.


Conference Table and Listening Session
Saturday, October 20 First UMC, Lakeland

The Conference Table and General Conference Delegation will host a Conference Table and Listening Session on Saturday, October 20 from 11 AM to 2:30 PM at First UMC in Lakeland. The focus will be on preparing for the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. All Florida United Methodists lay and clergy are invited to attend. There will be an opportunity for facilitated table conversation and for persons to sign up to speak in five minute increments.  Participants must register and plan to bring a donation for the lunch that will be provided. (The Conference Table will convene at 10 am, prior to the listening session.)  Click HERE for registration.  Click HERE for a list of the Florida delegation.


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!


The Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation


The Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation team is pleased to announce that registration is open for the 2019 Academy to be held March 10-15, 2019 at the Life Enrichment Retreat Center in Fruitland Park.

The Academy is a program of the Upper Room and The Florida Conference.  Faculty members this year will be Ray Buckley, who is Director of Native People Communication Office of UMCom, Director of Connectional Ministries and Native Discipleship for the Alaska Missionary Conference and Kathryn Damiano, a Quaker and lifelong contemplative.  She has served as spiritual director at Pendle Hill, a Quaker center for study and contemplation.

The descriptive brochure and more details for this opportunity are available at



October 20 - Super Charge Conference - New Covenant UMC, The Villages at 9:00 am

November 12- Veteran's Day Holiday

Conference & District Offices are closed.


November 13 - North Central District Church Dashboard Update Day!

This day is being held as a reminder for all churches to go into their church dashboard and update their 2019 church leadership. 

November 22 - Thanksgiving Holiday

Conference & District Offices are closed.


February 9, 2019 - NC District Training Event "Welcome To The Future" , First Ocala UMC, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm