Changes

At our District Clergy meeting today we learned of some changes that are occurring in the cabinet. They are currently going through the Reynolds Leadership Course. Apparently they are learning a lot and because of this there are some changes coming for next year.

One of the huge changes is that now the elders of the churches will be in charge of the annual charge conferences. Presently, the District Superintendent travels around to the 93 churches in our district. Starting in September and through Thanksgiving the DS heads out for a meeting every night Monday through Thursday and then two to three on Sunday. The schedule is unreal and I could not imagine how any of them stay married with that type of schedules.

I do know that in some districts they have moved to group Charge Conferences, but the ones I have been involved in are a little blah and weren’t too impressive. I do like this idea of keeping them local but also freeing up the DS.

One reason is because the DS will still be making a visit to each of the 93 churches in our district but she will have a year to do them. Plus, instead of glazing over the 53rd time they hear a report, she can be freed up to really listen to what is happening at the church and how she can help them grow.

The second reason is no one comes to charge conference meetings. The past two CGs I have done at my present appointment we have had a total number of people of 15 show up. This doesn’t show the DS the vitality and energy of our congregation. I would much rather show off the congregation on a Sunday morning or afternoon than a meeting on the Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving. The DS will get a much better and more hands on look at each church this way.

One last reason is that charge conferences can happen at the same time. We can have one due date, say Nov. 16th, that they are all due. This would eliminate CG meetings in September which have to be impossible. We will have a standard amount of months to get meetings in and decisions made. The conference will have a better time line on when to get information ready and out to the churches.

Bishop Goodpaster is making some changes in the way we are doing things in the Western North Carolina Conference. I think these changes are moving us forward into a new age of the church. I know there will be push back, the “back to Egypt Committees” will be out there, but with any change there is negative feedback. But it is worth it if the change is for the better and in my unimportant opinion this is.

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Charge Conference Over

Well after all the paper work, the scrambling to learn who has what information, and wondering how the DS would run the meeting it is over. It went very well and I was very pleased with the results. I was very impressed with our DS and he made the event very casual and laid back. That put my mind at ease. You never know if your DS is going to be laid back and understanding or demanding and uptight. I think the people who attended (which wasn’t a bad crowd) enjoyed themselves as much as you can during a charge conference.

Our church has been through a lot in the first six months because I am the third pastor in 2007. After their pastor was ‘let go’ do to an ‘accident’ they had two interim ministers before I was appointed. It has been a blessing to see the changes, the relief and the willingness to move forward in my first three months here. I think God has a lot in store for this church and it was good to see God working through our holy conferencing.

Charge Conference

Tonight is my first solo Charge Conference. The past four have been as an associate minister but this year I am the top dog. Prayers are needed and may God have mercy on my soul.

Here is the prayer I am opening up with:

Gracious and giving God, you have called us together to be the Body of Christ to the world. We sit here, in your house, tonight to give thanks to you for the ministry of this congregation. We ask that as we do the business of the church that we can feel your presence with us. May we be guided by the Holy Spirit in order to be the church you have called us to be. Enable us to see your calling in the midst of paper work, your Spirit in our reports, and your love in our fellowship with one another. Remind us in our holy conferencing that we are a connectional church as we work together as the Body of Christ, united in your Son’s love and grace. For it is in Christ’s name we pray, AMEN.