A focus on making disciples by helping persons, individually or in teams, develop disciple plans based on the 10 timeless values of the faith is the focus of the second annual Disciple Covenant Conference, set for Friday, February 24 and Saturday, February 25, 2012. The conference will meet in Macon at the Macon Centreplex (Macon Coliseum).
“I am excited about the Disciple Covenant Conference for so many reasons,” said Bishop James R. King, Jr. “A lot of people talk about making disciples, but I don’t think a lot of people even know how to make disciples or how to focus on it in a very significant way. It’s the mission of the Church to make disciples.”
The purpose of the Disciple Covenant Conference is to provide a spiritual and learning environment for people to develop their disciple-making plans, 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 have already in place.
“As I’m around the connection interacting with leaders I do not pick up in our conversations or presentations that people really understand what it takes to make disciples,” he said. “I’m excited that we’re making this a focal point in South Georgia.”
The conference, which will be a time of teaching mixed with praise and worship, will commence at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, February 24 and will conclude at noon on Saturday.
The Disciple Covenant Conference is an opportunity for pastors, laity and congregations to receive much-needed training, to gain ideas and to develop skills so they can go back to their local churches and continue to live out the disciple making process, said Dublin District Superintendent and Disciple Covenant Conference planning team member Rev. Denise Walton.
“Coming to the Disciple Covenant Conference is not so much about the development of a plan, but about strengthening that team and making the team stronger,” she said. “The development of the plan and the living out of the plan will be done back at their local church. This is just enhancing what we hope clergy and teams are working on prior to coming to the conference, or gaining information so they can leave the conference and further work on their plan.”
Attendees will hear from speakers Tim Stevens, Sister Kathleen Flood, Jennifer and Rev. Jim Cowart and Rev. Jay Hanson. Leading worship for the weekend will be Robert McMichael and Jarvis Wilson.
Bishop King will lead Friday night’s service of healing and Holy Communion.
“Our speakers will talk about the particular values and how they feed into a disciple plan,” Bishop King said. “We have a neat mix and balance of speakers with two of our own South Georgia pastors and two speakers from outside the Conference. The speakers are people who are well known for understanding the value they’ll speak on or they are well known as church leaders who are demonstrating the value.”
Pastor Tim Stevens
For 17 years, Tim’s leadership has helped Granger Community Church in Granger, Ind. connect with people who think church is irrelevant. He has done this through the creative blending of architecture, strategy and technology. He’s acutely tuned in to popular culture and is instrumental in balancing operations, building creative teams and inspiring artists to brand each message series and sharpen the weekend experience. He has co-authored three books in the Simply Strategic series, and is author of “Pop Goes the Church,” released in 2008. You can find Tim blogging at LeadingSmart.com and on Twitter @timastevens.
Sister Kathleen Flood
Sister Kathleen Flood, OP is a Dominican sister and a member of the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. She holds a Master‘s degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University and completed her Doctor of Ministry degree in Spirituality and Ecumenics and a Fellow in Spirituality and Applied Ministries at the Graduate Theological Foundation. Sr. Kathleen is the Program Development Executive for Stillpoint, a school for spiritual direction and contemplative prayer. Sister Flood will speak about fasting and prayer.
Jennifer and Rev. Jim Cowart
Responding to a call to full-time ministry, Jim moved Jennifer to Kentucky from Columbus, Ga. While Jim was attending Asbury Seminary and serving as an Associate Pastor at Versailles FUMC, Jennifer served in youth ministry on the Council of the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 1995, the Cowart family moved to Dublin where Jim served as an Associate Pastor and Jennifer served as Youth Pastor. During their time on staff at Dublin FUMC, Jim felt a call to start a new church – one that specifically targeted unchurched people. As a result of that call, in 2001 Jim and his wife Jennifer (along with their two children, Alyssa and Joshua), started Harvest Church UMC. For the past 10 years, Jim has served as the Lead Pastor and Jennifer has served as both Pastor of Spiritual Discipleship and Director of Emerging Ministries. There are over 2,200 people who attend Harvest Church every weekend. For the last two years, Harvest has been recognized by Outreach Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Fastest Growing Churches” in the nation. The Cowarts will speak about the value of evangelism.
Rev. Jay Hanson
Jay began praying a dangerous prayer, “Lord do with me today whatever you must, that in the future you may do with me whatever you wish!” and in 2004, he was able to fully trust God to do with him “whatever You wish.” A graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, Jay was approached by the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church to plant a new congregation in Brunswick. Starting new ministries was not new for Jay, but starting a new congregation from scratch was still no small challenge. With wife Kim and a handful of dedicated movers and shakers, Jay obeyed God’s call on his life and The Chapel became officially consecrated in September 2005. Though each Sunday Jay claims things will be “a little bit different,” the bottom line and vision for The Chapel remains the same: changed lives. And with two teenagers at home, Jay’s own life (and wallet) may just be the most changed of all. Rev. Hanson will speak about the value of Holy Communion.
Robert McMichael, III is a 1999 graduate of Morehouse College and a 2009 graduate of Gammon Theological Seminary. Robert has distinguished himself as a writer, lecturer, vocalist and organist while serving in numerous capacities in churches throughout the Atlanta area. In 2008, Robert was appointed by the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church to the 2008-2012 Hymnal Revision Committee, whose primary responsibility is to produce a new hymnal for the denomination. Robert believes that worship should be more than a once a week event; it should be the lifeline upon which Christians thrive. Robert has adopted as his life’s theme, “Love, The More Excellent Way!”
Jarvis R. Wilson was born in Atlanta to the late Clarence and Gladys Wilson. When he was only 4 years old, his mother noticed his aptitude and keen interest in music. A true lover of gospel music, Jarvis began playing the organ in church when he was 10 years old. As predestined by God, he has been glorifying and magnifying the Lord through music and song since that time. From 1982 until 1997, Jarvis served at Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta. Jarvis is founder of CEGSW Enterprises and Worship Enhancement Workshop Ministries, where he conducts various choral workshops in an attempt to help build and strengthen other church and community choirs. Jarvis has also recorded five instrumental CD's. Currently, Jarvis serves as Minister of Music at the Israel Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Listed below is a tentative schedule for the 2012 Disciple Covenant Conference.
Friday, February 24
5 p.m.: Registration opens
6:30 p.m.: Worship through music
Reflection and Covenant Time #1
Reflection and Covenant Time #2
Additional Worship Experience: Communion and healing service with Bishop James R. King, Jr.
Saturday, February 25
8:30 a.m.: Morning worship and prayer
Reflection and Covenant Time #3
10:30 a.m.: Presentation #4
Reflection and Covenant Time #4
Challenge and Sending Forth Worship
“I hope we can build on last year’s experience and reach more congregations to help them develop disciple plans,” Bishop King said.