Are we there yet?
FOCUS ON THE VISION
The Office of Connectional Ministries seeks to advance the kingdom of God by utilizing the tools of communication in diverse and creative ways. The conference website; individual consults with clergy and laity; local church, district and conference trainings; webinars; social media; promotional program materials; conference calls; and video conferencing represent a sample of the annual conference tools of communication. We are constantly working to communicate the mission and vision of the annual conference.
The conference website, www.sgaumc.org, and the South Georgia Advocate, www.sgaumc.org/advocate, our official online news source, continue to provide the main flow of information for the Annual Conference.
A big focus for the Communications Team for 2014 was an internal data merge of the conference database. We have moved to a UMC Data Model with many capabilities that we have not had before. This is a continued work in progress and is a streamlined effort among various conference and district offices to work together in the sharing of data submitted by clergy and local churches. We will continue to build upon this streamlined model in the coming year.
As local churches begin to complete charge conference forms they will notice the changes to our database system. A new church dashboard offers the local church an opportunity to share more information such as worship times, directions to the church and an updated photo of the church facility. In addition to the church dashboard, extension minsters will have a new extension ministers’ dashboard that houses all of the forms and reporting required for clergy serving in extension ministry.
Another big project in the area of communications was the launch of six district websites. The district administrative assistants have been instrumental in getting this project off the ground. Please visit each of their websites: Coastal District - www.coastaldistrictumc.org, North Central District - www.ncdumc.org, Northeast District - www.northeastdistrict-umc.org, Northwest District - www.northwestumcdistrict.org, South Central District - www.southcentralumc.org, Southwest District - www.southwestdistrictumc.org.
In addition to the websites, a new Discipleship Form was created and launched in each district. The new Discipleship Form collects the same information from each church in the Conference and replaces individual district evangelism forms. We received feedback from several clergy regarding the discipleship form and the need to consider how this form might work with the annual statistical reporting.
Today, Sept. 21 2015, a task force will meet to review the systems which house the discipleship form and the annual statistical reporting form. We will consider ways to make the two forms compatible and reduce duplication of efforts.
Are we there yet?
The South Georgia Conference has come a long way in the last 24 months to provide more information, better communication, increased collaboration between ministry departments, and better service delivery to our local churches. However, we are still working to streamline forms, processes and systems to better serve the mission and vision of local churches as you seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
We celebrate today the ways in which God has allowed us to progress and seek your prayers as we continue to move forward to better serve you.
Rev. Denise Walton serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries. Contact her at email@example.com.