2013 Highlights: Forward Momentum
Missional Excellence Realignment Proposal
The Texas Annual Conference approved a two-part proposal to realign the Ministries of the Center for Missional Excellence as a result of the work of a 12-member task force, which met for eight months examining the work of each committee and entity within the center.
The first change adds a local chair to help coordinate communications among Social Principles Implementations Ministries (SPIM). The second change combines two committees who were both tasked with the same duties and combines them into a new committee. These were the executive board of Partners in Mission - formerly made up of seven people who represented five districts and were not nominated by the Annual Conference, as well as the 9-member Sending Ministries Committee.
This new committee was elected by the Annual Conference with two representatives from each district. It consists of 18 total representatives split into two sub-committees of nine each.
The first sub-committee will be focused on national and international mission work and be in conversation with each district about ways to help churches across the conference engage in national and international missions more effectively. The second is tasked with learning ways to better engage local communities for Jesus Christ. This committee will function as the missions committee of The Texas Annual Conference. The Project Coordinators for PIM project sites remain in place and all teams scheduled to go forth as PIM mission teams for the summer will go out as planned. There will be no revisions of plans and teams that are currently underway or planned for the summer.
The full text of the proposals can be read in the Pre-Conference journal (p. 189)
Two items were voted on relating to Lakeview. In the first, the Annual Conference passed a resolution renewing and affirming Lakeview’s covenantal relationship with the conference (Pre-Conference Journal, p. 40) The second vote approved Lakeview’s new bylaws, with the understanding they be provisional for one year. This offers them operational flexibility while a committee considers broader implications of how their bylaws relate to The Book of Discipline and their relationship to the Annual Conference. (Pre- Conference Journal p. 174-176)
Rev. Matt Idom’s Lakeview report focused on the significant changes they are making to prepare for a vibrant future as noted in their master plan. They are upgrading infrastructure and adding new amenities.
Highlights for 2012 included hosting 279 kids at their first confirmation camp. They celebrated 67,661 camper days, 800+ commitments to Christ (8th grade and above) and 200+ called to ministry. Rev. Idom emphasized the need to keep up with kids who make commitments at camp and talked about their new program called Tap, which asks the question: “Has God tapped you for ministry?” “Some kids tell us they want to dedicate their lives to Christ, get in a suburban with momma and never bring it up again... This program will allow Lakeview to stay in contact with these young people, and when they get out of high school, we will be there to help them answer the question: “Now what happens?”
Idom added that “We believe we add value to your churches. Some of those young people are going to be your pastors one day and we are your partners in making that happen.”
Investing in the Young
“Repeatedly I hear that youth are only taken seriously when it is convenient for us, the adults, to take them seriously. I will ask you not what if you change your local context but instead I am telling you that they will take their dreams and visions somewhere else unless we listen,” admonished Rev. Thera Freeman, Texas Conference Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Her “crowd sourced” report showed included video comments from youth and offered the podium to several young people.
Among them were Mary Grace Steigerwald from Faith, UMC in Spring who said “I've been to UM Army for 3 years and it is always a wonderful thing. But Texas Youth Academy went even deeper than that... We were able to explore every aspect of our faith – emotional, spiritual and missional… Youth Academy showed me that we can learn deeper than we learn at church and Sunday school, and discussing with one another helped me see that my faith can grow further.”
Eddie Erwin - a youth worker at Lakewood UMC introduced the Field Guide Network, a new training and mentoring resource for youth workers to not only prepare and equip them, but offer a connection to share their experiences and ideas. A video outlined the program and explained how to connect with others by using this free resource.
Laura Lee Deeheart stepped up to talk about her work with a ministry called Revision. She works with gang affected and at risk youth. These kids often live in one bedroom apartments often with 7 other people and no furniture at all. Kids want to fit in and perhaps over time they start dressing like the gangs and start hanging out with gang members and getting involved in those types of activities.
She spoke of many positive changes they’ve been able to make in the few months they’ve been working.
Core Leadership Team Report
Reggie Clemons delivered the CLT report, noting their work for the past year.
The CLT worked on several areas in 2012 including:
· Implementation of strategic assessment report recommendations
· Providing leadership of the various components as they have been implemented
· Summer CLT meeting was devoted to evaluations of the 2012 Annual Conference, a review of the work being conducted through the conference centers and initial considerations of possible changes to rules and structure
· At the fall CLT meeting, we affirmed several recommendations for procedures related to nominations and resolutions and we received an update on the restructuring for the Center for Missional Excellence and requested that the sexual ethics committee present a revised version of the conference sexual ethics policy
The Annual Conference approved several changes to the nominations process and structure.
See changes to nominations and structure in the Pre-Conference journal (p 46 -50).