The new year is a time of excitement and enthusiasm, a time for dreaming with God for 2015. The quote from D.L. Moody comes to mind, “If God is your partner, make your plans big!”
Well, we on the District Leadership Team have prayed fervently and planned big with God, and we are so excited about our District Training Event on Saturday, Jan. 24 at First UMC, Nacogdoches!!!
We have invited a dynamic young pastor and his praise team from The Journey in Houston (part of Memorial Drive UMC) to lead us in worship. Of course, this worship service is for all, but we think the young people will especially love it!
We have a new district coordinator of youth ministry, and he will be leading two workshops for youth and youth leaders.
We have two leaders from our Annual Conference staff coming to lead workshops along with some of the best clergy and lay leaders from right here in the East District – offering training in a variety of ministry areas. There is something for everyone, and we know that you will come away with some great ideas and tools for enhancing your ministry of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!
Our Scripture focus is Luke 1:26-38, where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with the news that she had found favor with God, that she was to bear a son and name him Jesus, that he would be called the Son of the Most High, and that his kingdom would never end. Picking up in vs. 34, “Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. FOR NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.”
We believe that all things are possible with God! And thus, the name of our 2015 Leadership Training Event is:
WHAT IF… dreaming with God what is possible
BREAKTHROUGH PRAYER – Keefe Cropper (Session 1 only)
For a long time now, we have been experiencing decline and with it a sense of desperation. Our default reaction has been to double down on hard work and human effort, only to see little fruit. WHAT IF… we change our default position? John Wesley believed that “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” We are going to explore the practice of Breakthrough Prayer – prayer that connects with God and looks to Him to speak, inspire, guide, direct and empower ministry.
PRAYING FOR OUR PASTORS – Amanda Davis
Pastoral ministry is an awesome responsibility with great rewards, but it is difficult, challenging work that takes a considerable toll upon clergy and their families. WHAT IF…we created an intentional and dedicated lay prayer ministry that will lift up the pastors of the East District by name on a rotational basis? Come and learn about this exciting new prayer ministry opportunity and discover how you can be a part of it. Imagine what God will do when His people pray!
CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES FOR THE CHRISTIAN YEAR – Sally Frasier (Session 1 only)
Those involved in ministry with children are always looking for new ideas. WHAT IF…you and your church found new, fun, exciting ways to teach children about the meanings, seasons, traditions, colors of the Christian year? Come discover ways to use the seasons as tools to help children grow into disciples of Christ. You will receive helpful information about the establishment of Christian seasons and the importance of rituals and symbols in our lives. Help your children understand much of what we do when we celebrate worship each week. Fun experiences and giveaways.
LATCHKEY LIGHTHOUSE – Rick Anderson (Session 2 only)
Ministry with children and their families is one of the greatest opportunities for disciple-making. WHAT IF…your church prayerfully considered how you could become a beacon of light to elementary kids by hosting them in an after-school care environment which not only provides a safe haven but also an opportunity for them to learn and grow in Christ? Learn from a pastor whose small congregation has been doing this effectively for years how this is possible even with minimal resources of people and money.
SPICY TUNA – FOR YOUTH AND YOUTH WORKERS – Cody Bauman (Session 1 only)
So you are a youth at this District Training Thing, and you are wondering what to do, why am I even here. WHAT IF…you come and join Cody Bauman, our new District Youth Coordinator, for a time of games and fellowship and small group conversations about some things we might like to do for youth in our district? It might possibly be the best way to spend about an hour on a Saturday. Who knows, you might leave with one of the iPods we will be giving away at this session.
P.S. The session has absolutely nothing to do with Sushi!!!
THE SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERIMENT – A CONVERSATION ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA, THE INTERNET, AND HOW TODAY’S GENERATION IS USING THEM TO COMMUNICATE – Cody Bauman (Session 2 only)
Social media has rapidly become the main way people communicate today, and this is especially true for young people. This can be an incredible and wonderful blessing, but there are many concerns and dangers, too. And if we, as a church, are to learn how best to connect with young people, well…WHAT IF…you and your church took this seriously, and truly took time to learn more about how to engage with young people and to speak their new language? What is a hashtag? Snap Chat? Is it safe to be tweeted by someone? Is Youtube useful? Are there dangers with allowing my students to have a cell phone? What about selfies and bathing suit pictures at the beach? What is a vine? Do I need to place locks on my child’s phone? When is it acceptable to allow my student to have a Facebook account? Come and join us as we explore these questions and much more.
NEW MEMBER AND CONFIRMATION TRAINING FOR YOUTH AND ADULTS – Cindy Doran
There is much confusion today both within the church and without about what we as United Methodists believe and practice and how that all is grounded in Holy Scripture. WHAT IF…in your church, you offered regular classes for new members and existing members, and perhaps combined that with Confirmation classes for youth and adults? Come and explore Methodist theology and practices, and find help with ways to teach our rich heritage and history in a way that will be interesting and inspiring, and will add meaning to worship. Find ways to help new members understand what it means to be a United Methodist and to discover how they can fit into the local church and engage in ministry for Christ.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS: THE CLUE TO CALLING AND THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE MINISTRY – Keefe Cropper (Session 2 only)
So many people step up to serve in ministry in and through their churches, but soon experience burn-out and frustration. They are seeking but not finding fulfillment in their spiritual lives. WHAT IF…in your church, you intentionally, prayerfully spent time discerning your spiritual gifts and learning how to apply them in ministry within the church and without? Come and explore the purpose and potential of spiritual gifts in empowering ministry. Consider how the presence of the gifts is a clue to calling – on both personal and corporate levels. And explore ways the church can discern and deploy them within their ministries.
BECOMING A MISSIONAL CHURCH – David Briggs
Many have heard the statistics that reveal the exodus from the church, especially by millennials, the losses affecting denominations, and the aging of the church. We have heard the statistics of our drastically diversifying communities while the church is wrestling with change. Consequently, our neighborhoods have become the new mission field, and the harvest is ripe. WHAT IF…you and your church renewed your commitment to answer God’s call to be workers in your changing mission field? This course is not for those who are looking for a survival strategy or another church revitalization program. Instead, this course is a reprogramming of the way we understand the church and her gospel in light of a changing context. This course is for passionate believers who want to know how they can become like Christ in their communities. Students will learn how to identify the unique needs of their mission field and turn those needs into viable ministries, wholly for the sake of expanding the boundaries of God’s Kingdom to include all people.
FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY – Tom Teekell
People in your community, and maybe some in your church, are drowning in debt, consumed with worry and stress regarding their finances. Such stress is a contributing factor to the high rate of divorce. WHAT IF…you and your church prayerfully considered offering training that could help people in your church and your community to become debt-free? You or any member of your church can lead an amazing video series to help people learn practical ways of how to spend, save and give according to biblical principals. Tom is a certified financial coach and has been teaching Financial Peace University to the SFA and Nacogdoches communities for over five years.
BEST PRACTICES FOR PASTORS AND WORSHIP PLANNERS – Steve Woody
One of the great strengths of a connectional church like ours is the sharing of resources and ideas. WHAT IF…you and other leaders of worship planning met together with other gifted leaders called to similar ministry to pray together and to share best practices? Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost. These seasons of the church year offer many exciting ministry and worship opportunities for Pastors. This class will be a sharing of information concerning special worship and ministry experiences during these seasons. Need a new and exciting idea for Holy Week that will engage your congregation? Have you run out of ideas on how to help your church experience the fullness of All Saints Day or the Sundays of Advent? This class is open to all Pastors and or persons planning worship. Participants are invited and encouraged to come and share their ideas and best practices for planning and conducting these special worship and ministry events.
MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY IN WORSHIP – Pam Woody
The use of technology in worship increased significantly in the last several years and yet many of our churches are not utilizing this opportunity. WHAT IF…you and your church prayerfully explored this incredible tool for enhancing worship and engaging young people and families? This class will discuss the importance of using technology in worship (screens) and will also discuss how churches that don’t currently have technology can easily and affordably implement it.
VIBRANT CHURCH INITIATIVE (VCI)– Jesse Brannen
Every church wants to be a growing, vibrant congregation where the spirit of God is felt and followed. But, WHAT IF…you and your church prayerfully considered becoming a part of an exciting new process that is having amazing results in making this dream a reality? Are you ready to be a Vibrant Congregation?
Come to discover…
- IF you are ready 2. IF you have the leadership needed to revitalize your church into a Healthy, Vibrant, and
Growing congregation 3. IF you are willing to change where necessary 4. If VCI is right for you!
ADULT VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL (VBS) – Steve Killam
We put a great deal of focus, time and energy into fun and exciting ministry with children and youth – as we should. But we must be careful to balance that with a focus on fun and exciting ministry with adults as well. WHAT IF…you and your church prayerfully considered launching one such new ministry with your adults this year? Come and learn about a new way to do VBS – with adults. It is a fun and exciting way for adults to learn more of the love of Christ and to share in great fellowship together. You can include crafts and games and refreshments too! Steve has led his congregation in this effort the past few years, and the adults can’t wait until it comes around again! They are inviting all their friends to come and join in!
WHERE AND HOW IS GOD CALLING YOU TO SERVE – Michelle Hall
Our focus as an Annual Conference this year is on developing transforming lay and clergy leaders. This is clearly one of the greatest needs of the modern church if we are going be relevant to the unchurched and even to our young families for now and the future. WHAT IF…you prayerfully considered and explored where God may be calling you; and your church made a high priority of identifying and recruiting those who are experiencing God’s call and helping them to discern that call more fully? Perhaps your pastor, a friend at church, or a family member said, “You know, you’d make a great pastor.” Or maybe you’ve been active in your church for a long time, you are ready to make a career decision, and working in a church full-time just sounds “right” for you. Maybe you’ve had a clear feeling that God wants you to be a pastor or minister for many years. Perhaps you’ve just been wondering if God could use you to lead other Christians. This session will provide you resources to support you in your discernment.
STAFF-PARISH RELATIONS COMMITTEE (SPRC) – Chuck Huffman
This committee has one of the most important – and too often most misunderstood – roles in all of the church. WHAT IF…you and your SPRC began to explore new ways of doing ministry with your pastor, lay church staff, and congregation, offering support and encouragement, fostering unity and a desire for learning and growing together as disciples of Christ, and identifying and recruiting those God is calling into ministry? Come and learn about the vital work of this committee. There will be plenty of time for discussion and for sharing of ideas to enhance the overall ministry of the church. Pastors are invited and encouraged to attend with their SPRC members.
East District Training Event 2015
Saturday, January 24, 2015
9:30 am Registration
10:00 am Dynamic Worship Service
11:00 am – 1st workshop
noon – lunch provided ($10)
1:00 pm – 2nd workshop
2:00 pm – (Event ends after second worship is completed)
Several weeks ago, a list of the Ministries that our church supports and participates in was mailed to your home. There is a place in at least one of these ministry areas for YOUR service. When we serve we are also supporting our church with our witness, presence and gifts………
Participate in a Worship Service
Lend a Hand with Empty Stocking
Help around the Church
Participate in VBS
Help with UM Army
Perhaps there is a ministry that we currently do not have that YOU would like to take the lead and initiate. If you would care to participate in one of our existing ministries but are unsure of whom to contact, call the church office and Donna can provide you with the person to call.
For several weeks there have been announcements, sermons, articles and conversations about New Covenant Sunday. On that day we will celebrate our spiritual renewal encouraging everyone to reaffirm the vows and commitments made when you joined the church – to participate in the ministry of the church with your Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service, and Witness.
New Covenant Sunday is January 4, 2015, the day each person will return the enclosed card listing their intentions after prayerful consideration of how participation in each area can be increased. The card has two parts. The top part is information for the church; the identical bottom part is for your own records. You will NOT be asked to sign the card that you turn in, only the portion that you keep so you will have a record of your intentions and decisions. On January 4, the unsigned top portion of the card will be deposited in a gift box at the altar during the service.
What can the church do to help you grow spiritually? Be alert to the possibilities for you to grow. Be positive and receptive to the ideas you may think of or suggestions you may hear. Open your heart so you may hear God’s whisperings. Be in prayer that your decisions transform you. Fuel your thoughts and imagination leading you to discover your gifts and talents in regards to your church. While some ideas to encourage / inspire you follow, trust yourself to go beyond these suggestions and choose additional paths to serve.
- Use bulletin prayer list to intercede for those listed
- Increase the frequency of your prayer time / length of your prayer time
- Participate in National Day of Prayer / the World Day of Prayer
- Accept ministry team (committee) commitments and attend meetings regularly
- Join / be present at Sunday School / Bible Study
- Take part in church activities in addition to Worship Services
- Use your gifts and talents in meaningful ways
- Sing in the choir
- Strive to increase your givinG
- Lead Responsive Reading at Worship / Regularly phone or contact a member shut-in
- Teach a Sunday School Class / Lead a Children’s Sermon
- Be involved beyond Sunday Services – Check the List of Ministries of our church; explore where you can contribute.
- Take Communion to member shut-ins
- Invite others to FUMC / to your Sunday School Class
- Be aware that your actions in public speak louder than words Following the service by Reverend Grant Barnes, our new minister, a special dinner will be held to further celebrate New Covenant Sunday. This is not a pot luck dinner. The meal will be prepared for the congregation as the celebration of this day continues. As in the time of Jesus, when coming together to share a meal had a tendency to draw His followers closer, so is the hope that we will celebrate our renewal and draw closer to Him.
Please plan to attend this special New Covenant Sunday on January 4, 2015 to celebrate a renewal of your vows and the Celebration Luncheon following.
New Covenant Team:
Peggy Rawls Larry Lindsey Gloria Foster
JoAnn Allison Buckshot Walker
Pat Friese Dan McAnally Buzz Foster