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Headed in the right direction

February 02, 2012

Hello, beautiful people of South Georgia!

Have you ever been lost?

While traveling this summer during my renewal leave I was following the directions of the little voice inside my GPS. When the voice said, “you have reached your destination” I was sitting beside a corn field with a dead end sign staring me in the face. When I asked a man and woman working in the field for directions they said that I was on the wrong mountain, and then gave me excellent directions. Once I started out again with the right directions, headed in the right direction, my frustration with being in the wrong place diminished.

When it comes to the South Georgia Annual Conference, I believe the following are a few indicators that we are headed in the right direction.

Our 2011 apportionment giving was more than 81 percent - an almost two percent increase over 2010’s apportionment giving.

We are aligning our conference budget to match patterns of giving. A revenue-driven budget is our aim.

Disciple Plans
We are focusing on the most important job of the church, and that is making disciples of Jesus Christ. Every baptized United Methodist in the South Georgia Conference is being asked to develop a disciple plan.

Project Turnaround
Project Turnaround is a work in progress that is a positive, faith-based initiative highlighting financial and budgetary concerns and the decline in membership. This initiative is being used as the primary stepping stones to turn our negatives into positives by becoming more efficient and effective by being a disciple making annual conference. I have identified  some funds that Bishop Watson earmarked to hire a consultant, Dr. Randy Capps with Leadership Strategies, to assist in assessing how we can become more efficient and effective reaching our mission goals. Turning negatives into positives defines Project Turnaround.

District Superintendents: More than administers
The role of a District Superintendent is both spiritual and temporal.   All across the connection the District Superintendent has been seen as an administrator or someone who needs to be freed to emphasize the more spiritual and missional aspect of the church. I have been prayerfully building a team (the appointive cabinet) that is willing to learn and grow with me as spiritual leaders.  The point is that I am expecting more from the District Superintendents and we are just getting started. Some of the new expectations include: an emphasis on leadership more than management, developing a leadership team made up of lay and clergy who will assist in focusing on discipleship in the district, nurturing clergy through a supportive cluster system, employing a cluster system to encourage and support disciple plans, freeing laity by empowering and engaging them to have a more active role as disciples who are called to make disciples, being a coach and mentor and identifying other able clergy and laity who can also serve in this area, guiding pastors and congregations to have celebratory and engaging charge and district conferences and assisting me in holding the baptized and ordained in loving accountability systems. From these expectations hopefully you can see that I am expecting more contact, not less, in building relations and leading through wonderful connections.  

New Church Starts
Our new church starts are paying off in a big way.

Our New Conference Center
Our new Conference Center is going to be a wonderful facility that will assist us in being more effective in coordinating our work as well as being better stewards of our resources.

Disciple Covenant Conference
There are more indicators that we are headed in the right direction but for now I will just add one more and that is the Disciple Covenant Conference, or the DCC. I hope to see you there. Register today!

Until next time, remember – God’s will for us is good. We must do the rest. 

With love,

Your Bishop,
James R. King, Jr.

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