My first Annual Conference is in the bag!
What an experience! It has been such a blessing to represent my district and the young adults of the North Georgia Conference. I learned so much about the ministry, work, and operation of the United Methodist Church. I am so happy to be a part of this dynamic church, grounded is such a proud heritage and doing such good in the world.
- The opening devotional by Dale Smith, a self-proclaimed recovering Southern Baptist, outlined the best of the Methodist faith: our connectionalism, the balance between personal piety and social activism, the balance between God’s providence and our free will, GRACE-prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying, and salvation for ALL people. He concluded with, “It has often been said that to be a Methodist, you must have a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.” John Wesley wanted Methodists to change the world. We are one person at a time!
- New Church Development-The conference has started, is starting, and will start new congregations, cultural and age-based ministries, and bring the right people to serve the needs. The newest church, Connexion UMC will open August 4. Amazing, inspiring, and much needed work!
- The impact of Action ministries in North Georgia is changing the lives of the poor. One testimony included, “I want to show my kids that the love of a mother is greater than love of meth.” What game changers in these people’s lives!
- The Connectional ministries blew me away. What great resources for our local churches! It reminds me that we are not our own little congregations, but connected to one another and empowered by one another to reach people for Christ.
- “Youth leading is a church growing.” Enough said.
- “It’s not my church, your church, but our church and God’s church.” Ditto.
- 9 out of 10 Christians will accept Christ before they are 18. We better get moving!
- The phrase “Wesleyan DNA,” that imperative to serve others and help those in need.
- The needed ministry of the United Methodist Men, who among other things provide $75 solar-powered MP3 audio bibles in two languages for missionaries in the field.
- The needed and valued work of the United Methodist Children’s Home and the Murphy Harpst Children’s Home. ALL children deserve to be loved, valued, and cared for!
- Debating matters of the church is heavy! It was a powerful experience and I was pleased to see such care of word and thought as we proceeded. I was even more encouraged to see our youth take an important role in anti-bullying legislation, offering speeches in favor and even amendments. It clearly illustrates what was said earlier in the day, “Youth leading is a church growing.” Powerful!
- The reading of the assignments of the pastors was a great insight into the history of Methodism. So many men and women dedicated to serving God as pastors. What a blessing! And it was a blessing to hear Bishop Watson preach!
The United Methodist Church does so much good in the world. There are so many opportunities to serve and make a difference for Christ. What to do next?