Message from the District Superintendent
Dear North East District Family,
In September, I attended a conference where one of the breakout sessions was on evangelism. The leader of the breakout session was the current president of Alpha USA. He shared with us an executive summary of a study Alpha commissioned from The Barna Group. If you’re not familiar with The Barna Group, they are probably the preeminent Christian statistical firm in the nation. They are extremely respected and a trusted source of information.
The news from the study was very mixed. One disturbing outcome was the report that 47% of Millennial practicing Christians say that it is wrong to evangelize. At the same time, two out of three Millennials believe being a witness about Jesus is part of their faith and strongly agree that “the best thing that could ever happen to someone is for them to come to know Jesus.”
It’s also worth noting that the study shows that non-Christians and lapsed-Christians (Nones and Dones or Unchurched and Dechurched) said that the top qualities they would look for in a person with whom to talk about faith are “listens without judgment” (62%) and “does not force a conclusion” (50%). They also said that only 34% and 26% respectively of the Christians they know possess those qualities.
One thing this means is that evangelism as sharing doctrine and defending the faith is most likely no longer an effective strategy. Instead, it points to the better strategy of engaging with people in your sphere of influence and simply being available to listen to them. It means being willing to ask open-ended faith questions and then not feeling the need to provide an answer is a better. It likely still means inviting people in your sphere of influence to something like Alpha, a small group, or worship.
Another key piece to this study is that it means we are probably not doing a good enough job of helping all the members of our church families understand that it’s everyone’s responsibility to share their faith. If sharing faith effectively in 2019 means more like listening and asking good, open-ended questions, the threat level should be far lower. Hopefully, more people will be willing to do so.
As the Chief Missional Strategist for our district, I fear we have lost the urgency to make evangelism one of the key pieces of our DNA. I pray that we will re-engage and do so in strategic ways that use data and help us to understand our communities. If you’d like a copy of the executive summary of the study, please let me know.
God bless you, and in this month of Thanksgiving, please know how grateful I am to serve as your district superintendent.
All God’s love,
Join the North East District for our 2020 Training Event entitled EQUIP 2020 – Unstuck on Saturday, February 29, 2020, 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM at Beach UMC, Jacksonville Beach.
During this training event, we will have Tony Morgan from The Unstuck Group as our speaker. Tony will be speaking on the following topics:
- Interruption & Assessment: Interruptions challenge us to pause and assess what’s happening, then build a plan to respond. Without interruption, every church has the potential to go through a very similar life cycle. In this session, Tony Morgan shares the seven phases of the typical church life cycle and helps you learn how to discover if your church is really stuck.
- Planning & Action: Where do churches most often get stuck? In this session, Tony digs deeper into two phases of the life cycle where churches tend to get stuck and offers practical frameworks and discussion around clarifying mission, vision and strategy, building a structure that reflects your strategy, and reducing complexity. You'll walk away with a clearer understanding of the next step God has for your church.
This event is mandatory for all appointed clergy in the NE District. But church leaders, please do not let your pastor come to this event alone. This event is best attended as a team from your church. We encourage all of your leadership team to attend with the pastor.
Registration is now open! Click here to register! You can register as an individual or as a group. Cost is $10 per person to attend. Registration is limited to 400 participants. No walk-ins or onsite registration. You must register in advance due to space constraints. We hope to see you there!
The Unstuck Church Book Now on Sale!
The District Office has ordered copies of the book - The Unstuck Church by Tony Morgan. This is the same book that your church Lay Leader received a copy of at Super-Charged Conference. You can purchase the book and either pick up at the office or reserve your copy to be picked up at the Leadership Event in 2020. Cost is $12.50 per book.
Child Youth Protection Policy Training Opportunities
The Florida Conference published an updated version of the Child and Youth Protection Policy in 2019. Since then, we have received numerous calls and emails about the policy changes.
The new policy has many changes in it that affect all the churches in the conference. Rev. Carrie Yoder, Memorial UMC, Fernandina Beach and Corey Markle, CrossRoad UMC, Jacksonville, will lead a training for church leaders on the policy overall as well as offer feedback for questions and concerns.
Those who should attend are:
- Youth Leader(s)
- Children's Ministry Leader(s)
- Anyone involved in leadership role of VBS
- Anyone involved in leadership role that has direct contact with children and youth
Because of the complexity of this policy, we are offering four different training opportunities within the District:
- January 7, 2020, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. @ St James UMC, 400 Reid St, Palatka, FL 32177 in the church basement.
- January 7, 2020, 7-9 p.m. @ Lakewood UMC, 6133 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32217 in the CAC Dining Room.
- January 23, 2020, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. @ Yulee UMC, 86003 Christian Way, Yulee, FL 32097 in the fellowship hall.
- January 23, 2020, 7-9 p.m. @ Lake Shore UMC, 2246 Blanding Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32210 in the sanctuary.
This training is free to attend, but we ask that you register online so we can be sure we have enough handouts for everyone.
Methodist Children's Village News
The Methodist Children's Village (MCV) has recently been recognized by Channel 47 for its many years of "No Violations" on the DCF Inspection Reports. Congratulations to all who have contributed to this wonderful accomplishment for so many years.
Currently there is a Volunteer Work Day scheduled for Saturday, November 16, 9:30 a.m. - 1 p .m. Volunteers may work any part of that day. Workers of all ages, including teens, are welcome. Southside UMC through their United Methodist Women already has someone with a pressure washer. But more volunteers are needed for cleaning, painting, yard work, etc. Volunteers are requested to bring supplies for doing these task. For more information and to volunteer, please contact Marilyn Myrick - 904-472-6756/MTM4219@hotmail.com
Additionally, MCV has the following needs:
- volunteers for grant writing.
- volunteers for newsletter editing.
- employees for classrooms and substitutes.
If interested in an employee position contact Director Kelly Paterno @ 904-783-1681 or email@example.com.
Bishop's Advent Retreat
Laity, local pastors, deacons and elders are invited to an Advent retreat with Bishop Ken Carter on Tuesday, December 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Community of Faith UMC in Davenport.
We will focus on the gospel of Matthew, the lectionary gospel for 2019 Advent through 2020. For those who do not preach the lectionary, Matthew is also a great resource for growing in discipleship.
The retreat will be in three movements:
1. Identity: Becoming a Part of a Greater Story (Matthew 1. 1-17)
2. Incarnation: The Best of All is that God is With Us (Matthew 1. 18-25)
3. Epiphany: The Long Journey to the Place Where Christ is Born (Matthew 2. 1-11)
There will be times of silence, collaboration, conversation and lectio divina. Participants will also have an opportunity to develop their own plan of spiritual reading and prayer for 2020. Participants are asked to bring a Bible, a notebook and a 2020 calendar.
Space is limited, sign up here today!
November 12, 2019 – Finance/Trustees Training @ San Marco UMC
November 13, 2019 – Finance/Trustees Training @ Emmanuel UMC, Palatka
December 10, 2019 – SPRC Training @ Garden City UMC
December 11, 2019 - Recerts/Certs/LP - Please contact Elizabeth Flynn for more information - firstname.lastname@example.org
December 12, 2019 – SPRC Training @ First UMC, Bunnell
- January 6, 13, 27 & February 3, 2020 - Called2Preach Class @ District Office
- January 7, 2020, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Child Youth Protection Policy Training @ St James UMC, 400 Reid St, Palatka, FL 32177 in the church basement.
- January 7, 2020, 7-9 p.m. - Child Youth Protection Policy Training @ Lakewood UMC, 6133 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32217 in the CAC Dining Room.
- January 16, 23, 20 & February 6, 2020 - Called2Preach Class @ Memorial UMC, Fernandina Beach
- January 23, 2020, Child Youth Protection Policy Training 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. @ Yulee UMC, 86003 Christian Way, Yulee, FL 32097 in the fellowship hall.
- January 23, 2020, Child Youth Protection Policy Training 7-9 p.m. @ Lake Shore UMC, 2246 Blanding Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32210 in the sanctuary.
- February 29, 2020 - Equip Leadership Event - Unstuck, 10-3:30 @ Beach UMC, Jacksonville Beach
- April 18-19, 2020 - Spring Lay Servant Training @ Spring Glen UMC, Jacksonville
- August 22, 2020 – Igniting Men Conference @ Mandarin UMC
- September 16, 2020 - District Admin Brunch, 9:30-12:30 @ Southside UMC
- September 19-20, 2020 - Fall Lay Servant Training @ First UMC, Green Cove Springs
- October 17, 2020 – 2020 Super-Charged Conference @ CrossRoad UMC
- October 28, 2019 – Church Dashboard Update Day