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Southeast Distict Charge Conferences - Share, Discuss, Inspire
The Southeast District continues yearly charge conferences with Joint Charge Conferences in Lafayette, Valley and Roanoke Circuits. District Circuit Leaders welcome the participants and get the conference started. The District Lay Leader, Dr. Bob Neighbors, greets the participants and shares information on the lay ministry work in the District and the Conference.
Last year, a representative from each church gave a report on the exciting ministries taking place in the local church. This practice has continued this year with two minutes allotted to each church. In addition to the sharing, participants have an opportunity to dialogue with members from others churches on three questions:
· What has your church done recently that is making a difference in the life of the congregation?
· What is a major challenge facing your local church?
· What can your church do in the future to impact the mission of making new disciples for Jesus Christ?
We are learning about the key role outreach ministry is having on active churches. Churches are looking outside the four walls and responding to their communities. The importance of small group comes up regularly. Churches that are attentive to Sunday School and Bible Studies, for example are more likely to have good news about growth.
Two challenges that arose regularly at the conferences:
· Local church finance - How to improve the local church’s income; How to increase the giving from members.
· Youth and young adults – How do we connect? How can we increase the number of young families in the local church?
With a roll call vote, we completed the important business of approving leadership, salaries and reports from the local churches.
For inspiration, District Superintendent Stryker is preaching at the seven charge conferences for “seven minutes,” from the Seven Words of Christ on the Cross. The focus is on one word at each charge conference. Each of the four completed messages has ended with a challenge to the churches to spread the good news that:
· 1st word – Jesus forgave the people executing him, what about you? He wants to forgive you.
· 2nd word – Jesus invited a criminal into God’s kingdom, Jesus wants you too.
· 3rd word – Jesus created a new family with his mother and John, his friend. Jesus wants to create a church family made up of people, not of our choosing, but his. Invite others to church.
· 4th word - Jesus knows what it is like to be down and feel abandoned, he understands you. God of heaven did not desert the God on the cross, God will not abandon you.
We are grateful for music groups and choirs that have melodiously guided the worship experience at these conferences.
Church Conferences ahead are Wedowee, Sylacauga and Alexander City circuits. Messages will focus on the 5th through 7th words.