FROM THE BISHOP
R. LAWSON BRYAN
Even before moving to the South Georgia Conference I heard of a most inspiring moment at last year’s annual conference session. The delegates enthusiastically set a goal of increasing average worship attendance by 10 percent by 2018. How grateful I am to be part of an annual conference that can set such a goal!
Much help toward achieving that goal is already being provided by leaders in our conference. For example, the “Praying For 5” booklets outline a way that each church member can connect with five other persons by praying for them over a 40-day period and then inviting them to church.
This year’s annual conference session is being intentionally designed to help us reach our goal of a 10 percent increase in average worship attendance. Our vision for the next four years, Alive Together in Christ, comes right out of Ephesians 2:5. Each year we will focus on specific ways of being Alive Together in Christ. This year’s annual conference will launch the emphasis Alive Together in Worship. And between Annual Conference 2017 and Annual Conference 2018 we will give a primary focus to the ways we can be Alive Together in Worship.
When we gather at the Jekyll Island Convention Center June 4-7, we will be joined by Lovett H. Weems, co-author of the book “OVERFLOW: Increase Worship Attendance & Bear More Fruit.” Dr. Weems is Distinguished Professor of Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. His three teaching sessions will provide practical steps for planning, implementing, and evaluating worship that can produce greater fruitfulness.
Dr. Weems says, “Without vital worship attendance it is unlikely that members are growing and new disciples are being brought to faith. Worship attendance is also the one factor where improvement tends to help every other aspect of the church’s ministry.”
Worship is the primary arena in which we experience firsthand what it means to be Alive Together in Christ. I want us to be Alive Together in Worship throughout the South Georgia Conference. The best way to prepare for annual conference is to order or download a copy of Lovett Weems’ book, “OVERFLOW: Increase Worship Attendance & Bear More Fruit.” The book is filled with practical help such as: paying attention to those you want to reach; paying attention to seasons and patterns; big days; prime seasons; and what to do about low attendance times.
Worship matters because what you worship is what you become! “Worship is powerful. It changes lives. If you want to do something to increase the joy of God and bless others, than it will be important to figure out how to make worship more real, more communal, more personal, and more inclusive. In ways small and large, worship is a key to the transformation of the world” (“Overflow,” p. 137). But you don’t have to look far to figure that out. Dr. Weems’ has provided more than enough in the way of practical steps for increasing worship attendance. Thank you for getting your own copy of “OVERFLOW” so you can begin moving toward our goal of a 10 percent increase in worship attendance.
Speaking of OVERFLOW, last weekend Epworth By The Sea was overflowing with 500 young attending the annual Confirmation Retreat. I had the opportunity to speak at the opening worship service on Friday evening. What a lively congregation! They were overflowing with energy and enthusiasm. They are not only the church of tomorrow, they are the church of today. Praise the Lord!
Alive Together in Christ,