Efforts being made to increase fruitfulness of UMC mission in UNY
February 11, 2020 / By Bishop Webb's Operational Task Force
Recently, there was a flurry of headlines related to a proposed measure of splitting the United Methodist Church. While the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Separation is in the proposal stage, it has garnered attention, and with it, questions about the future of the UMC in its current form. While we do not minimize the complexity of the dilemma we face as a denomination, we can look to the proactive and intentional work that is being done to further the mission and vision of our conference.
In this season of uncertainty, our mission remains primary as we faithfully seek to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”. This mission requires us all, as individual disciples, leaders, and congregations to partner with God in the work we are called to.
The Conference Operational Team, and Conference Leadership Team is offering these definitions to provide additional clarity to what it means to be a disciple and a transformational leader in our context.
A disciple of Jesus Christ is a person who:
- Confesses faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
- Is continually transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Seeks accountability to grow spiritually and missionally.
- Boldly connects with the world around them, while dismantling all forms of oppression
- Proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ.
- Participates with God to make other Disciples.
A Transformational Leader is a Disciple of Jesus Christ who leads transformation by:
- Fostering a culture for people to be open and available to the work of the Holy Spirit.
- Understanding the gifts and needs of their ministry setting.
- Equipping a disciple-making culture.
- Discovering, developing, deploying, and leading new and existing leaders.
- Inspiring and equipping others for works of evangelism, justice, and mercy.
- Building a culture of transformation that will outlast the leader.
- Creating, leading, and empowering a system of accountability to the mission.
Recently the Cabinet announced the move to a Regional Plan for Superintendency to address the cares of the mission, current reality, and sustainability in the life of the Conference. As we live into this model of shared leadership, the work of discovering, developing, and deploying Christ following transformational leaders will continue to move closer, and closer to the local congregation.
The structure of 12 Districts will be retained. Along with District offices, each Dstrict will continue to be resourced by various teams and committees such as District Leadership Teams, District Committees on Ministry, District Lay Servant Ministries, District Committees on Superintendency and District Committees in Location and Building. While we maintain District focus, teams within each region will have regular opportunities to learn, organize and strategize how their region can better discover, develop, and deploy leaders within their unique context. District Leadership Teams will continue to do this work for each District, in relationship with the entire region, and Conference. Eventually, there will be opportunities to develop strategies even more specific than District geography through teams from small geographical areas working to discern how to discover, develop, and deploy Christ-following transformational leaders, all in an effort to multiply the number of vital congregations within Upper New York and increase the effectiveness and fruitfulness of the mission to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”.
The Operational Team, and Conference Leadership Team, in partnership with the Cabinet and District Leadership Teams will continue the work of discovering, developing, and deploying Christ-following transformational leaders who will provide the leadership to continually move the mission and strategy closer to the local congregation. Whatever emerges after General Conference 2020, the future United Methodist Church, any new expressions born from it, local congregations and communities will demand leaders who gather the community of faith, live the mission and invite others to the journey and joy of discipleship. This is our task and we pledge our commitment to continue the work in service to you and in partnership with you
The Bishop’s Operational Task Force is an adaptive strategic group that works in connection and cooperation with the Conference Leadership Team. This team gathers one day a month as an adaptive strategic group to provide insight and direction for the mission, vision and primary task of The Upper New York Conference. Team members include: Nola Anderson, Aaron Bouwens, Bill Gottschalk-Fielding, Scott Johnson, Carlos Rosa-Laguer, Lindsay Martin, Dave Masland, Drew Sperry, Carmen Vianese and Bishop Webb.