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Goals for 2006

Goals for 2006

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Goals for 2006

Jan. 11, 2007    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
800-282-8011     Orlando {0602}

NOTE: A headshot of Whitaker is available at

An e-Review Commentary
By Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker**

In the fall of 2005 Florida Conference Lay Leader Bill Walker and I visited every district to present goals for the congregations of the Florida Conference. Bill met with lay leaders, and I met with pastors. These goals were first proposed to the Florida Conference Cabinet and then refined following consultation with the cabinet.
The goals provide positive direction for congregations in the fundamental areas of evangelism, worship and outreach to the community. They assume there are norms that govern the mission of the congregations and that each congregation needs freedom in how it adheres to the norms. For instance, there is a norm that there should be a worship planning team in every congregation, but the congregation must be free to choose a style that fits its cultural context.
At the 2007 Florida Annual Conference the members will receive a report on the performance of the conference in meeting its goals, and there will be a conversation about how congregations can become healthy.
This focus upon congregations’ health is a recovery of the Methodist tradition of reporting on the fruitfulness of congregations to the annual conference. For decades annual conference has been focused upon conference agencies instead of congregations. We shall correct this imbalance in 2007.
I do not intend for this conversation about congregations’ health to be a judgmental exercise. Our purpose is not to embarrass, but to begin to take seriously our common responsibility to be effective in our mission as The United Methodist Church in Florida. This conversation will shine a bright light on the priorities of mission that should be continually before us. I expect it will also illumine practical changes we must make, and we can make, to become more fruitful in our labor for the Lord. I want this conversation to be educational, challenging and inspiring as we take stock and embrace our future.

This article relates to Mission and Ministry.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Whitaker is bishop of the Florida Conference.