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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    CLT maps way from now to 2025

    December 5, 2018 / By Stephen J. Hustedt / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, the Upper New York Conference Leadership Team (CLT) once again gathered for a time of Loving, Learning, and Leading at the United Methodist Center in Liverpool.

    On the evening of Nov. 30, they focused on Loving God and each other, worshiping together, and sharing stories. With Advent beginning the next Sunday and knowing they would not be together again until after Christmas, they talked about the season they were entering and what gifts they had to offer to God. Upper New York Resident Bishop, Mark J. Webb, introduced a turn of phrase on gifts brought to the baby Jesus of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

    “We need to give God our mud, circumstance, and gold,” said Bishop Webb, explaining that the mud is the bad stuff we hold on to, circumstances are what is beyond our control, and gold is our very best. “You don’t hear Olympic athletes say that are training to get a bronze metal. Are we giving God our very best or a bronze effort?”

    The following morning the team shared in a time of learning led by Craig Robertson from the Spiritual Leadership Institute. Craig has been coaching the Conference Leadership Team since their first fall 2018 meeting to help them work together even more effectively. Craig helped the team learn both how to better communicate where they were coming from in a discussion and how to stretch themselves to optimize their motivation.

    “if in our work together we are only taking a small step forward, motivation is not high. It’s like why does this matter?” he explained. “But if we are trying to take on too much it feels overwhelming and again motivation is low. The key is to find the sweet spot that stretches us just enough to maximize motivation.”

    Then the team began their time of leading together, starting with reviewing their Master Ministry Action Plan (MAP). The Master MAP guides all the components of the work of the CLT with a current stated goal of reaching 50 percent of the congregations in the Upper New York Conference being vital by June of 2025. This will be achieved by discovering, developing, and deploying Christ following leaders who are called and gifted for transformational leadership.

    Of course, in planning through 2025, the team could not ignore the Special Session of General Conference in Feb. 2019 or the next General Conference gathering in 2020, so a significant amount of time was also spent in scenario planning. While potential scenarios developed a variety of needs, the CLT felt that it’s focus should be on leading around how we relate to each other as sisters and brothers in Christ in the midst of decisions that will make some people happy, some people unhappy, and some people unsure of how to feel.

    They held up that while there are many things we don’t agree on; the great commandment is something we can all embrace. They spent some time reviewing the scripture.

    Matthew 22:37-40 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    The team agreed that they would use this as basis and create resources for the Conference that would hold up how we are to be in relationship with one another no matter what happens at the Special Session of General Conference.

    Following their time of leading together, the CLT ended their time with prayer and agreed to meet again to continue their work Jan. 18 and 19 at the United Methodist Center.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 86 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."