Four Years in South Georgia - Reflections from the Bishop
FROM THE BISHOP
JAMES R. KING, JR.
July 20, 2012 marked the end of another Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. I would like for the members of the South Georgia annual conference to know what I wrote as my report in summary of our work in the South Georgia Area during the last four years.
South Georgia Area Report
Bishop James R. King Jr.
The South Georgia Area is filled with clergy and laity who are excited about the gospel of Jesus Christ and are engaged in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Building on the past
The strong and solid traditions of the past continue to feed the future ministries that touch the lives of so many in the South Georgia Area as well as throughout the connection. Our vision statement is: “God envisions faithful, fruitful and bold congregations and ministries passionately growing mature disciples of Jesus Christ who are living vessels of the Holy Spirit’s desire and miraculous power to redeem every soul and circumstance.”
Some of the significant ministries that continue to mark our call to discipleship and characterize our commitment to be a disciple-making annual conference include the following: We have remained in partnership with the East Africa Annual Conference. Numerous mission teams have dug wells where water has been scarce. Others provided medical and dental assistance for those who suffer. We have also provided teaching teams to resource those who seek to grow in the word of God. Conference-wide Confirmation Retreats reach hundreds of young people every year, and summer camps are the training ground for spiritual formation in the lives of many.
“Pathways to a Healthy Church” is an annual training event for laity and clergy. A variety of workshops provide opportunities for participants to learn about how to become effective servant leaders.
New and Revitalized Congregational Development: Our commitment to expand the kingdom of God by starting new congregations continues. During this quadrennium we have started 10 new congregations. Starting new congregations has proven to be one of the most effective ways to attract potential disciples of Jesus Christ.
Embracing the future
Identifying the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is a big step in the right direction. How to make disciples is still not clear for many in the church. Some of the steps to draw us closer to our vision statement include:
• Adding a vision slogan, Growing a Christlike World, to our vision statement.
• Asking every congregation to develop a disciple plan.
• For two years we have invited local church leadership teams to our Disciple Covenant Conference to develop and adjust their disciple plans.
To address financial challenges and membership decline we identified a way into a brighter future called Project Turnaround. Project Turnaround places an emphasis on pruning forward rather than cutting back. Also included in this new directive is a revenue-driven budget, a sharper emphasis on the role of the District Superintendent to provide spiritual formation opportunities, empowerment of the laity and the use of a consultant to assist us in our evaluations and projections.
A new conference center
We are still a young Episcopal Area. One of our focal points includes raising funds for a new conference center that will assist us in being more effective in coordinating our work as well as being better stewards of our resources.
We are blessed by the grace that God provides to get better in making disciples of Jesus Christ. Our commitment in South Georgia is growing to this end. The path to a more Christlike world has many challenges to be addressed. With a loving focus on Jesus Christ combined with our faith in God, we believe the best is yet to come.
Until next time, remember – God’s will for us is good. We must do the rest.
James R. King, Jr.