The Vision for Lakeview Continues Under New Leadership

Date Posted: 2/22/2011

As the new Superintendent of Lakeview Methodist Conference Center, I want to first thank the Board at Lakeview, Bishop Huie, and the members of the Annual Conference for the opportunity to serve with you at our Conference Center.

 

I am humbled and excited by the many words of affirmation and am reassured through your comments of the love for Lakeview and the importance it plays in the life of the church.

 

I write to share the convictions I have regarding Lakeview, those I shared with the Board during my interview. My hope is that this will serve to begin a dialogue with you, the members of the Annual Conference, as we work to improve Lakeview and to assure that it continues to be a valuable resource to the congregations and ministries of the Texas Annual Conference.

 

I love Lakeview. Anyone who knows me knows of my history and passion for Lakeview’s historic mission of reaching young people and for creating the opportunity for all of us to draw closer to Christ. I feel called to this ministry at this point in my career and will work hard for all of you.

 

Destination by Design

In the past, Lakeview has been a destination by default. For generations it has been assumed that everything must take place at Lakeview. However, we now live in a time when there are many options for camp and meeting settings, and as we all know, Lakeview is showing serious signs of age. My overriding goal will be to transform Lakeview into “a destination by design.” This means improvements camp wide that will make Lakeview more appealing and contemporary to the needs of those who meet, camp, worship, and conduct ministry here.

 

Sacred history, Master-Planned Future

The most important relationship we have is with the congregations and members of the Texas Annual Conference. Lakeview, while functioning as a non-profit organization, is owned by the Texas Annual Conference and was created first and foremost to provide ministry for us. I will be focusing on this sacred and historic relationship and begin this year to visit congregations throughout the Texas Annual Conference to both listen to your ideas and concerns and to share the vision for ministry at Lakeview.

 

First things first! Our mission, Lakeview’s financial security, and our most viable ministry have been to be the setting where young people come to Christ. This is paramount to our success and critical in the life and mission of our Annual Conference to “Make Disciples for Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.” And yet, many of the facilities where we conduct camp are way out of date and, frankly, in poor shape. We will begin immediately evaluating our facility, working to develop a revised Strategic Plan, and create a Master Plan for the entire campus of Lakeview. This Master Plan will include new and improved facilities for children and youth. But it will also include updated, new, and improved facilities for adult education, retreat, and meeting needs.

 

Funding for our needs can no longer depend solely upon Lakeview’s income and the benevolence of the congregations of the Texas Annual Conference. Yes, we will continue

to need “buy in” by the congregations of the Texas Annual Conference. But I will also begin immediately developing funding sources from individuals, foundations, and groups outside of the Texas Annual Conference. We will work to create stronger programs in endowments, scholarships, capital needs, and alum giving.

 

Developing Through Dialogue

I will meet with those who are responsible for the ministries that call Lakeview “home” so we can explore the future together. This will begin with a request to meet with our Bishop and Cabinet. Following this, those who lead Summer Camp and Mid Winter. I want to explore with them ways to enhance and support these ministries and how to reach more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

I intend to continue this pattern with every group that has history with Lakeview like Choir Camp, UMM and UMW, the Board of Ordained Ministry, Young Clergy, Clergy Women, BMCR, the Centers for Congregational and Clergy Excellence, etc. Lakeview has the opportunity to reach many more through improved Marketing and Public Relations. We will begin to develop this area with the intent of sharing this unique and special ministry with people throughout Texas and the nation.

 

Serve better food. Want to know how many times I’ve already heard that one? This is one of the first things we will evaluate and explore. I promise! This is not an exhaustive list of the dreams, plans, or ambitions I have for Lakeview. I have many ideas and will, no doubt, hear of many other great suggestions in the months ahead.

 

An Inspirational Investment

Finally, I have a word of deep appreciation and admiration for Von Dawson. When I was 19 years old and a freshman at Lon Morris College, Von hired me to be the youth director at Whitehouse UMC. He invested in me! That has been his legacy at Lakeview, investing in young people and caring for all of us who have shared in the unique ministry that is Lakeview. What Von has done at Lakeview is huge, it is epic, it is foundational.

 

Lakeview has many new facilities, a safer environment, a dedicated staff, and the strongest finances in its history under his leadership. His work has brought Lakeview further than any would have dreamed, and I am blessed to have the privilege of following in my mentor and friend’s footsteps. With the Lakeview Staff, I again thank you for this opportunity. I look forward to seeing you at Lakeview.