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Living out the vision Jesus gave us!

Living out the vision Jesus gave us!

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Living out the vision Jesus gave us!

Feb. 8, 2006    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011     Orlando {0439}

NOTE: A headshot of Taylor is available at

An e-Review Commentary
By Rev. Kendall Taylor**

The heart of the Florida Conference vision is making and nurturing disciples. In many ways it is being articulated in the lives of faithful Christians all over the state.

It is a good thing to stop from time to time to recognize and thank those who do it well. It is a reminder to the rest of us of what we, too, are called by Jesus to do. One opportunity for recognition of those who faithfully help people into discipleship is through awards to individuals and churches given at each year's annual conference event. Ten-year-old Brittany Cott received the Denman Award for evangelism in 2003. This winsome young lady demonstrated a simple, Spirit-stirred passion to love people, effectively introducing them to Jesus. I am sure many folks thought, "I could do that ... but am I willing?" She lifted to our consciousness in a powerful way the calling to introduce people to Jesus.

The life stories of previous and subsequent recipients communicate a similar passion — 2001: Rev. Joe MacLaren and Judy Stamps; 2002: Rev. Jorge Acevedo and Karen Taylor; 2003: Rev. Douglas Kokx and Brittany Cott; 2004: Rev. Jocelyn Jean Baptist Adhemar and Rafael Ortega; and 2005: Rev. Dale Locke and Jerry Frey.
The Denman Evangelization Awards are presented each year at the annual conference session to one layperson and one clergyperson for outstanding work in Christian evangelization. The award is named for and honors the late Dr. Harry Denman, distinguished lay evangelist and former general secretary of the old Methodist Board of Evangelism. Dr. Billy Graham called him "my mentor in evangelism." The awards are sponsored by The Foundation for Evangelism, which was begun in 1949 by Dr. Denman. The Foundation invites each United Methodist annual conference to present this award yearly to a lay- and clergyperson of their conference.

A committee constituted for this purpose chooses the recipients from nominees submitted by Florida United Methodists, all of whom are now invited to nominate persons they observe being especially effective in sharing the Gospel and bringing people into relationship with Jesus. In this way we encourage people to share Jesus and celebrate this obedience to the Holy Spirit. It is a way of re-enforcing faith sharing as central to our conference culture.

Individuals may make their nominations through the Florida Conference Web site at A brochure explaining the Denman Award more completely and a nomination form with instructions for its use are included there. Those who wish to receive and return a nomination form by mail or fax may call or write the conference's Office of Congregational Transformation at P. O. Box 3767, Lakeland, FL 33802; 800-282-8011, extension 146; or Fax: 863-680-1980.

The deadline for submitting a nomination is March 15.

A second recognition, the Grindheim Sims Award, is given to the pastor of the church of less than 250 members that has the highest ratio of new professions of faith to beginning of year membership. The Office of Congregational Transformation examines the records of the churches and convenes a selection panel. Using the statistical results and several other criteria the panel chooses the award recipient.

These awards will be given at this year's annual conference session. Individuals are invited to make their nomination for the Denman Award, either clergy or laity or both. We shall celebrate the rising tide of faith sharing in our part of the Kingdom!


This article relates to Evangelism.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Taylor is executive director of the conference Congregational Transformation office.