Connectional Services are some of the ways the Office of Connectional Ministries intentionally seeks to live out our charge to “ensure the connections among local, district, Annual Conference, and general church ministries. We work at fulfilling this goal by three primary tasks: Connecting to the General Church, Consulting and Training, and Annual Conference Support Services.
Connecting to the General Church
We have several ways of connecting with the various components of the General Church . Each of these means is intended to help us fulfill ¶608.1 of The Book of Discipline.
First, each program staff member has become familiar with their counterparts on the general and jurisdictional conference levels. We are able to offer suggestions, connect people to available resources, and share grassroots concerns with the larger church.
Second, our Annual Conference has representation on the General Boards that set policy and offer resources in both the programmatic and administrative areas. The Connectional Ministries office can help connect you with these representatives.
Third, our program staff has become adept at connecting people to information via the General Church's website, www.umc.org.
Consulting and Training
Our program staff members offer consultation and training to local churches and clusters of churches in a wide-variety of areas. We offer leadership training, teacher training, vision discernment, mission interpretation, lay speaker training, stewardship, children and youth ministries, intentional hospitality, board planning days, and staff development. Churches normally contact the staff person directly working with that particular ministry area to negotiate a date and define the desired outcomes so a customized workshop can be developed. Our program staff comes to the local church or district at no charge as our expenses are provided through the local churches payment of the Apportionments.
Annual Conference Session Support
The Office of Connectional Ministries provides administrative support in preparation for each year's Annual Conference session. We prepare, publish and mail the Book of Recommendations and Reports, the Nominations Committee Report, the Book of Memoirs, the registration cards, name tags and other business related items for each lay and clergy member. We prepare, publish and mail the Conference Journal (with the invaluable assistance of the Journal Editor). We prepare the Conference Directory listing current information on clergy, churches and conference leadership.
Additionally, the Office of Connectional Ministries maintains the Conference Database. This tool is used extensively by the Bishop and Cabinet in the appointive process and by the various administrative and programmatic staff in connecting with leaders at the conference, district and local church levels.