|Dear Pastors and Local Churches,
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I pray this letter finds you well, and that you are enjoying the abundant life Jesus came to earth to bring us!
I write to you today about our upcoming Church Conference season. I prefer to make these “Church Conferences” to encourage the participation of all the members. Lonna is including with this email the attachments that will open all of the forms required to complete your Church Conference reports. ***PLEASE USE THESE FORMS, CREATED JUST FOR OUR DISTRICT, AND DO NOT USE THE FORMS ON THE CONFERENCE WEBSITE. Please note that we have worked in our office to simplify and streamline this process and eliminate unnecessary forms. There will be some changes in the reporting requirements this year. We are experimenting in hopes of reducing stress and allowing the focus of Church Conference to be celebrating and sharing what God is doing in and through His churches! It will be a little confusing at first, but I think we can all adjust to it rather quickly.
One change you will see is that we are not asking for the Pastor’s Report at Church Conference. Instead, this report will be due with your Year End Reports. This will eliminate having to duplicate work on membership reporting – once in the fall and again at year end – and it will make these annual, calendar-year reports. Also, we are not asking for the SPRC Clergy Assessment piece at this time. These will be sent to the pastors and SPRC chairpersons at a later date and will be due back in my office by December 1st. And we are eliminating the Clergy Self-Assessment piece altogether. Finally, I realize that some of you will not have your 2017 budgets ready in time for your Church Conference, so please just send those to Lonna as soon as you have them completed.
Also, I have added a new form – an apportionment form to be signed by the pastor and finance chairperson (it is necessary to replace part of what we did away with in the Minutes of the Charge Conference).
We will do our best to work with you, and most of you know that Anna and Lonna are always willing to help you any way they can. But I am asking you to help them as well – PLEASE BE SURE TO HAVE ALL OF YOUR CHURCH CONFERENCE FORMS PROPERLY COMPLETED AND SIGNED AND INTO LONNA’S OFFICE AT LEAST TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO YOUR CHURCH CONFERENCE! It creates added (and unnecessary) work and stress for Lonna if she has to track down your paperwork. And y’all know that old saying: If Lonna ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy! – or something like that.
I am asking this year for ONE written report from each congregation (preferably by the Lay Leader, or another key layperson, but otherwise by the Pastor or Lay Minister) sharing a brief overview of the previous year of ministry of the church, sharing about the general spirit and tone of the church, and celebrating how God is at work in and through the people – a sort of “state of the church” report. This should be included in the reports turned in to Lonna two weeks prior.
For the cluster Church Conferences, because of time constraints, I am asking for a brief oral report (less than 5 minutes) from a key layperson (again, preferably the Lay Leader) – highlighting one particular ministry or aspect of their congregation that captures the essence of your church’s love for God and love for neighbor, and sharing one thing you are planning for 2016 to make disciples of Christ or to make a real difference in the lives of others in the love of Christ.
For the larger churches (over 200 in worship), with your solo Church Conferences, we will have more time for this. So, pastors, please utilize your key lay leadership to share the story of your congregation’s past year. Again, I really want this to be a celebration of ministry mission for Christ! So, please use your imagination and make it meaningful and fun!
Again, the focus is on celebrating what God is doing in and through your church to make a difference in the lives of people in your community and the world!
Thank you for all you do to share the love and grace of Christ! It is an honor to serve with you all! If you have any questions, suggestions, concerns, feedback, etc., please let me hear from you!
Yours in Christ,
|2016 Charge Conference Documents
1-CHARGE CONFERENCE LETTER 2016