The Center for Congregational Excellence - Tool Box

In my garage I have a small tool box. It has everything I might need to fix any small minor repair jobs. Nails, Phillips screwdriver, regular screw driver, wrenches of various sizes, hammer, etc. All the normal stuff. I have one in the house, one in the truck and one in the car. If necessary, the tool box is ready for use, especially when an emergency arises. 

As a pastor in the local church living along the Gulf coast, after a couple hurricanes, the laity and I developed an Emergency Operations Manual. This manual listed all the resources and tools necessary at a moment’s notice to help guide the church through a disaster. Although we didn’t use it daily or even yearly, but when a storm was brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, we pulled out the manual and gave it a thorough look over. As much as possible, we were ready for any disaster.

The Preschool and Sunday school departments had a ‘tool’ resource manual too. The ushers did as it pertained to active shooters and other emergencies. The same can be true for the Safe Sanctuary policy. It listed all the tools and resources necessary for keeping children and adults safe. The Scouting ministry had theirs. So, did the youth department, especially for trips away from the church. Each area of ministry had their own specialized list of resources and tools to be used at any given moment.

If you do a quick Google search of ‘tools’ within 0.71 seconds, you’ll come up with 7,930,000,000 articles about tools and their usage. Power tools, automotive tools, hardware accessories, and on and on and on.

The Center for Congregational Excellence has created our own list of tools and resources to help the Texas Annual Conference churches thrive. You will not use all the tools this year, or maybe ever. But, look at all the resources available for you and your congregation. We are here to help you and your church be excellent in reaching others for Christ.

Please see attached…..


Churches throughout the Texas Annual Conference are invited to participate in

A Sunday of Blessing on Sunday, August 25th

The annual Back-To-School celebration is a great time to

honor students, school staff persons and families who participate in public, private and weekday schools. 

Resources will be available Monday, July 8th at


Fall Cohorts


Sign-up today for one of our Fall Cohorts planned at various locations throughout the Annual Conference! Choose from our Children’s Ministry and/or Weekday Ministry Directors Fall Cohorts. Groups will meet monthly. To sign-up, send your contact information along with your group selection (children or weekday ministry) to by August 15. 


For more information on these or other support for ministries to children, contact Rev. Jill Daniel, We Love All God’s Children Director, at


Youth & Young Adults

Youth & Young Adult Ministries offer a variety of events, camps and meetings for your youth & young adults to be involved in.

Visit for details on events

listed below and future events

The South Central Jurisdiction will have 5 youth observers to conference

July 15-18, 2020. We will elect these students, and one adult chaperone, at Youth 2019, but you do not have to be present to be elected. More information and to apply, visit


We want to work with you. Reboot is a team of people with hundreds of years of combined youth ministry experience. Why not learn from our mistakes, and benefit from our successes? We can help you restart your youth ministry. Our plan is not to move in and take over, but rather cooperate with you in the near term, so that afterward the whole congregation can take over.


Houston Lay School of Theology

New Faith Communities



One of the things I think is crucial for church leaders to do is create a culture of hospitality toward new people in the church.  I learned this, of all places, at Kroger one day.  I asked where a particular item was and instead of barely acknowledging my existence and pointing me to Aisle 5 the Kroger employee stopped what she was doing and walked with me to where it was.   I was blown away!  That simple act made me a fan of that grocery store when I didn’t even realize you really could be a fan of a grocery store.   Since then I have experienced that many times in that store.  Clearly someone did a good job of making hospitality a crucial part of the culture of the store.   


What are you doing to make hospitality a part of the culture of your congregation?   One of our pastors is Rev. Joel McKinnon.  At a church he was serving he came up with the idea of G.O. T. A. P.E.N.  He had pens made with those letters on them and distributed throughout the church as part of a larger effort to remind the church that the job of welcoming new people is not just for those on a certain committee. Its everyone’s job!      


Each of those letters stood for what he hoped people in his congregation would do when encountering newcomers to the church.


G:  Greet every person

O:   Offer them a warm and friendly smile

T:  Thank and invite all guests back

A: Always wear your name tag

P: Personal Invitation (sit with you in church, come to your small group, etc.)

E: Escort them wherever they are going

N:  Never assume someone else will do these things.  


I am grateful for the intentionality and effort Joel brought in doing all he could to create a culture of hospitality.  I’d love to hear about what you are doing as a church leader to contribute to that kind of culture in your place of ministry.   



Morris Matthis

Director of New Faith Communities

Click to email

Growing in Generosity

The Texas Annual Conference wants to provide pastors of small churches with the personal and professional financial acumen necessary to lead successful lives and congregations. To do so, we have partnered with Horizons Stewardship and the Texas Methodist Foundation to develop a two-phased approach this challenge, and with Wespath, which has provided grant funding in support of the project.


I am extending a personal invitation to you to attend at no cost a workshop on Growing in Generosity, the first phase of this project. This one-day clergy gathering to which all small church pastors in the Texas Annual Conference are invited will be held in three locations throughout the Conference on August 22, 23, and 24. At the workshop you will learn


• To reclaim and reconnect with a personal vision and mission for ministry

• How broken expectations may discourage leadership in generosity

• Best and worst practices in stewardship and generosity

• To recruit the right generosity team


There will also be a session on personal finance. Attendees will learn how to establish an account with EY, a financial planning service offered by Wespath free of charge, and will be asked to complete a pre-assessment survey to determine their level of financial literacy. They will be guided through the use of the EY website during that session, in addition to learning of other personal financial tools.


The second phase of Growing in Generosity engages lay members of the congregation through the recruitment of Generosity Teams. Training for these teams will take place at two different locations throughout the Conference during weekends in October and November. Information on these sessions is available on the TAC website at


Bishop Scott Jones

African American Church Initiative


Bishop Jones understands there are special challenges and opportunities facing the black community, and is putting in place some steps to help United Methodists receive the Holy Spirit's help in new ways. Bishop Jones is announcing the creation of the "African-American Church Initiative: Transitioning Toward the Future." This initiative will consist of several components with the centerpiece being a local church consultation process and a Lay Academy.


Each district will hold an informational meeting about the consultation process that is intended for pastors and the lay leadership team from each African American congregation in the district.


On November 9th at Jones Memorial UMC in Houston and on November 16th at FUMC Tyler the Bishop's Lay Academy on Evangelism will be held, where Bishop Jones will teach about the many ways God can use your church and you personally to reach your community. This academy is open to all who are able to attend and lunch will be provided to those who register. There is no fee for this academy.


See the information below on the dates and times of the district meetings in your district and contact your district office to register. If you are unable to attend on the date in your district you can attend any session, but you must register with that district to confirm your attendance.

Spirit Journey 2019

Congregational Excellence Staff


Click to email, Congregational Excellence Director

Click to email, Coordinator of Mission Field Development

Click to email, We Love All God's Children Director

Click to email Youth & Young Adult Director

Click to email Program Coordinator

Click to email Administrative Assistant

Click to email, New Faith Communities Director

Click to email Administrative Assistant

Click to email Vibrant Church Initiative Director



Texas Annual Conference UMC Congregational Excellence |