2017 Ignite Retreats Foster Candid "Conversations"

3/23/2017
Students in 7-12th grade enjoyed February retreats at Lakeview Conference Center and Forest Glen.   What was the highlight of this year’s IGNITE Mid-winter youth camp at Lakeview? Student leader Emily Letulle asked her group and heard a half-dozen different answers. One student from Temple UMC in Port Arthur said, “Everything.” Another enjoyed "field games with Brad,” and yet another youth said, “the game with the weird name!” The “Conversations” theme provided a variety of opportunities for ...

Bishop Jones and Committee on Faith and Order Seek Feedback on a New Resource

3/23/2017
Bishop Jones encourages clergy and laity to engage in a new small group study and complete feedback forms that will guide next steps toward the 2020 General Conference.   Knowing that the nature of The United Methodist Church is currently a hot topic, The Committee on Faith and Order has developed a resource to facilitate that conversation, entitled, "Wonder, Love, and Praise: Sharing a Vision of the Church." According to Bishop Scott Jones, who chairs the committee, this study seeks to capture ...

Delegates Prepare to Learn and Share at 2017 Annual Conference

3/23/2017
“Unified” is the theme for this year’s conference at The Woodlands UMC from May 28-31.   After several years in Downtown Houston, delegates will go to a new location, use a new app that greatly reduces the need for paper, and enjoy “TAC Talks,” similar to the popular corporate “TED talks” by some of our own ministry experts. No worries, however, Wi-Fi is readily available in this year’s location, so if you are not physically attending the 2017 Annual Conference at The Woodlands UMC May 28-31, ...

Feast of Chocolate Connects Methodists and Muslims

3/23/2017
Ladies in a Katy FUMC Bible study have found much in common with new friends from a Sugar Land mosque, including the love of chocolate.   After reading a book about Christianity and world religions by Rev. Adam Hamilton, a ladies Bible study group from Katy FUMC thought it would be interesting to tour a local mosque. “We wanted to know more about Islam,” shares Rev. Sandra Smith, retired clergy and former District Superintendent. “Our pastor, Rev. Dick White set up a tour with the ecumenical ...

Ministry Partners Help Churches Stay Vital and Relevant

3/23/2017
Some three years ago, Willie and Bernadette Blair creatde the Southwest Glen Mission under the leadership of Covenant Glen UMC. Since then it has been set up as a 501c3 organization that brings ministry to local underserved children and families in apartment complexes in southwest Houston.   When Methodists are involved, ministry is often ‘mobile.’ The leaders behind the launch of Southwest Glen Mission knew the children and families in nearby apartments were at risk in several critical ways, so...

Volunteers: How to Gain, Train and Retain Them

3/23/2017
Building a culture of volunteerism involves recruiting others to be a part of an environment promoting changed lives.   In the midst of overbooked calendars and record setting stress levels, relationships become the currency of life. In similar fashion, relationships are the currency of a congregation’s successful volunteer program.   Experts from Vanderbloemen Search Group, consultants working with churches across the globe on a daily basis, recently shared insight on this critical aspect of ...

Wharton Youth Group Leads Flood Recovery Effort

3/23/2017
From evacuation assistance to fundraising and ongoing workdays, the “Rise Youth” of FUMC Wharton have been indispensible to their community during the flooding aftermath that began a year ago.   Youth from FUMC Wharton have been on the news and in the news over the last year for their stellar flood relief work in a community that is no way near normal – even a year later.   According to youth leader Stephanie Konvicka, last April, the Colorado River flooded, affecting a square mile in West ...

UMM to Host Transformational Gathering this Summer

3/22/2017
One thousand men are expected to come together for worship, workshops, service projects and fellowship at the National Gathering of United Methodist Men on July 7 and 8. Held at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, the event will inspire attendees to embrace new possibilities for ministry and discipleship. “This is not an event to just have a good time and learn things – it will change your life and change the lives of people around you,” said Gil Hanke, general ...

Dr. Olusimbo Ige Named Interim Executive Director of UMCOR

3/16/2017
Dr. Olusimbo Ige was named interim executive director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), effective March 31, 2017, by Thomas Kemper, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries. UMCOR is dedicated to alleviating human suffering around the world through disaster response, sustainable agriculture, food security, and relief supply programs. Ige will continue to serve as executive director of Global Ministries' Global Health unit where she provides leadership and ...

Cabinet Appointments: New Faces in New Places

3/9/2017
Read about the District Superintendents that are joining the Cabinet or exchanging places, and an exciting new position within the Center for Congregational Excellence.   Referencing change and progress, someone once said, “To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” Opportunities during the appointment season are ample, and Bishop Scott Jones has announced several changes in the District Superintendent ranks – some that just require a physical move and some that will...

Facetime with the Bishop: A First for the Small-Membership Church Retreat

3/9/2017
At the fourth annual spring retreat, Bishop Scott Jones will talk with laity and clergy about faith sharing in the small-membership church environment.   “Special Guest Speaker” takes on a whole new meaning when TAC Bishop Scott Jones makes history as the first Bishop to address the attendees of the small-membership church retreat at Lakeview Methodist Conference Center April 21-22. “We are so excited,” shares event organizer Dr. Dick White of Quitman UMC, “because I know he truly has a heart ...

Great Expectations: Jumpstart Stewardship, Planned Giving

3/9/2017
Heartspring offers tips to boost charitable giving that will fuel the future of the church.   Many churches struggle with proper stewardship education, including discussions about planned giving and other ways to support the church. Talking about money can be hard. However, with the United Methodist Church in decline, and the number of baby boomers on the rise, it has never been more important to talk about planned giving than right now.   More eligible donors: Older donors tend to give more and...

Magnolia UMC Take School Partnerships to the Next Level

3/9/2017
Members of Magnolia UMC have created the Homework Helpers program to connect even more adults and students in the neighboring community.   When it comes to “Investing in the Young” the members of Magnolia UMC (MUMC) are going “all in.” The church has been committed to supporting the local elementary schools in Magnolia with school supplies and tissues for many years. Their summer Mission Monday program is a shoe drive for the elementary school and members have also been volunteering in the local...

Relational Leadership: Thoughts from Rev. David Brasher

3/9/2017
It’s always easiest to do nothing.  In fact, many pastors in Rev. David Brasher’s shoes would leave well enough alone when their church was flourishing, but, according to Dr. Jesse Brannen, “David challenged his congregation to participate in Vibrant Church Initiative and begin a new growth curve while things were already going quite well.” Adds Jesse, “By all measures, Bullard UMC was doing fantastic, however David, as a visionary leader, decided to rally his church to embrace this opportunity ...

Saturday Morning Live:  Modeling Godly Disagreement Through Holy Conversation

3/9/2017
As Bishop Scott Jones provided background, Rev. Nathan Bledsoe and Rev. Jim Leggett navigated through tough issues while modeling love, respect and grace in a first-of-its-kind live stream conference event.   “Covering a huge topic in a short amount of time – on a live stream—can be nerve wracking at times,” admits TAC social media coordinator Sydnie Mares, “however, Bishop Jones was as peaceful and as confident as ever for the conference’s first live streaming event of this magnitude on ...

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