In his ongoing effort to focus on disciple making and growing a Christlike world, South Georgia area resident Bishop James R. King, Jr. invites individuals and groups to join him at the inaugural Disciple Covenant Conference.
Scheduled for February 11-12 at the Macon Centreplex, the Disciple Covenant Conference will be a time of developing and sharpening discipleship efforts.
“Our hope and prayer is that people will be moved to come and attend the Disciple Covenant Conference so that they can learn how to grow a Christlike world,” said Dr. Rick Lanford, chair of the Disciple Covenant Conference planning team. “I’m really excited about this conference. This is the first time our Annual Conference has, to my knowledge, done something like this and undergone something of this magnitude where teams from churches will come together to learn and plan how to be a disciple.”
This event is not new to Bishop King; after seeing the need for discipleship training he convened similar conferences while bishop of the Kentucky Conference.
“He saw that there are people who come to our churches and join the church, but they aren’t being discipled in growing a Christlike world,” Dr. Lanford said of Bishop King. “In the United Methodist Church … we have open doors, open hearts, and open minds, and we are really good about getting people into the church, but we don’t always do a good job of keeping the people in the church. Not only keeping them in the church, but in discipling them as to where their gifts and graces can be used for the kingdom.”
The purpose of the Disciple Covenant Conference is to provide a spiritual and learning environment for covenant planning, said Bishop King. The two primary goals of the event are to focus on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the church’s Wesleyan heritage as the foundation for making disciples and to encourage participants to either start covenant plans on site, improve the plans they have in existence, or affirm the plans they already have in place.
“I have observed over the years that if people in the church do not experience the love of God and are not taught the values of the faith it is not logical to expect that the world would be different and better,” Bishop King said. “My hope and prayer is that every person, team and congregation who says they believe in Jesus Christ and desires to follow him will have a plan to guide them.”
The conference will commence at 6 p.m. on Friday, February 11 and will conclude after Saturday’s noon worship session.
Organizers say that teams of three to 10 people are ideal. Teams need not be clergy-led; others that will benefit from the conference include United Methodist Women groups, United Methodist Men groups, evangelism teams, Wesley Foundation groups, Sunday school classes and more. Each attendee will receive a study guide that will help as they improve their team and as they form other teams within their local church.
Attendees will hear from speakers Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., Dr. H. Eddie Fox and Bishop King. Leading worship for the weekend will be the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church Praise Band of Henderson, Ky.
“The Disciple Covenant Conference is not about what I want,” Bishop King said. “It is more about seeing a need and filling it … it’s about returning to the basics of our faith. The Disciple Covenant Conference is a focus on values, not programs. Each person and team will develop plans at their own pace, reflecting on their unique situation. Over the last two years I have attempted to communicate my love of God through Jesus Christ and my love for the people who make up my Christian family here in South Georgia. Now, I hope we can take the steps forward to do something new and different to produce something meaningful and amazing for the glory of God.”
Discipleship Conference Leadership Team:
Bishop James R. King, Jr.
James R. King, Jr. is the episcopal leader of the South Georgia Annual Conference. Bishop King received a Bachelor of Arts degree at Clark College and a Master of Divinity at the Interdenominational Theological Center – both in Atlanta, Ga. – in 1972. Bishop King was ordained a deacon in the Central Alabama Conference in 1970 and an elder in the Central Alabama Conference in 1972. Bishop King served pastoral appointments in Alabama, California and Tennessee. He has served as a delegate to Jurisdictional and General Conferences from 1988 through 2000, and was elected to the episcopacy in 2000. Bishop King served as bishop of the Louisville area – which includes the Kentucky and Red Bird Missionary Conferences – for eight years before being appointed to South Georgia in September 2008. Bishop King currently serves as the president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men and co-authored “366 Meditations for Men.” He and his wife Rose now reside in Macon and have two sons, one daughter and two grandchildren.
Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr.
Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr. is the Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership and Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He is the author of Church Leadership: Vision, Team, Culture, and Integrity; Take the Next Step: Leading Lasting Change in the Church; Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit; John Wesley’s Message Today, and The Crisis of Younger Clergy (with Ann A. Michel). He co-edits the online newsletter, Leading Ideas, available free atwww.churchleadership.com.
Dr. H. Eddie Fox
Dr. H. Eddie Fox has served since 1989 as the World Director of Evangelism, the World Methodist Council and as the Executive Director (1992) of the World Methodist Evangelism Institute. He is responsible for leading 16 Regional Secretaries of World Evangelism in developing indigenous evangelism on every continent. The World Methodist Council, an association of churches belonging to the Methodist tradition and representing more than 70 million constituents in more than 130 countries, is challenging member congregations to do world evangelization together. As the World Director, Dr. Fox preaches World Evangelism missions, teaches and encourages laity and clergy to be about the ministry of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. When Dr. Billy Graham learned of Dr. Fox's appointment to the ministry of World Evangelism he said, "I believe God has chosen you for such an hour as this. You will be in my prayers."
Chapel Hill United Methodist Church Praise Band
The Chapel Hill United Methodist Church Praise Band consists of seven members who have adopted Chapel Hill's mission of "making disciples for Christ.” The group has led worship at Chapel Hill for almost a decade and continues to lead three services every Sunday. With an average age of 50 years between them, the band brings an experience level that allows them to worship freely with little interference.
Listed below is a tentative schedule for the Disciple Covenant Conference:
Friday, February 11
6 p.m. - Registration Opens
7 p.m. - Opening Worship & Prayer
Reflection & Covenant Time #1
9:15 p.m. - Additional Worship Experience: Healing Service with Bishop James R. King, Jr.
Saturday, February 12
8:30 a.m. - Morning Worship & Prayer
Reflection & Covenant Time #2
10:30 a.m. - Presentation #3
Reflection & Covenant Time #3
Noon - Challenge and Sending Forth