Tips and Trainings to Kick Start 2015

Date Posted: 1/8/2015

A new year is like the first page of a new book. It brings the opportunity to try new things, push yourself – change your world. For the Texas Annual Conference, 2015 is the year of spotlighting our conference-wide emphasis of Creating Transformational Lay and Clergy Leaders.
One way to start strong is by considering what areas you would enjoy pursuing. Consider exploring one of the district, state or national training opportunities that abound in this first quarter. Many are free to attend or log into online. Why not go to several? Here are a few highlights:

North District

  • Saturday, January 10, 2015
Greggton United Methodist Church
  • Sunday, January 11, 2015
Atlanta First United Methodist Church
Both events will feature Rev. Dr. John Whitehurst, pastor of Grace Crossing United Methodist Church in Longview, and a Mission Fair spotlighting ministries such as: NTCC Wesley Fellowship, North District Youth/Sync, Summer Youth Opportunities, TAC Committee on Relief, HELP Workshop for Local Church Staff, Music for Worship, VBS *FREE Materials, ideas and handouts, Kilgore College and NETCC Wesley Foundation and Fellowship, Heartspring Methodist Foundation, Asbury Child Development Center, Local Community Ministries, Newgate Mission of Longview, Lakeview Methodist Conference Center, Committee of Native American Ministries, and District Lay Servant Ministries.
Sessions available include:
  • Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee with DS Bill Taylor
  • TACCOR with DeWitt Cox
  • Teens, Twenties & Thirties with Rev. Dr. John Whitehurst
  • Leadership “for such a time as this” with Rev. Melissa Crawford
  • Taking the Mystery Out of Apportionments with Rev. Dr. Elijah Stansell, TAC Director of Connectional Resources and Fiscal Officer & Treasurer
  • Stewardship Strategies with Rev. Jeff Powers & Rev. C. J. Taylor
South District  (information booklet/registration at www.southdistrict org)
  • January 24 (9-noon) FREE Local Church Leadership Training
Friendswood UMC (located at 110 N Friendswood Dr. in Friendswood)
Purpose – launching leaders in the local church to go forth and serve in areas of their calling (youth, children, missions, prayer, etc.) and on administrative committees.
  • January 24 & 31st  The Academy for Lay Leadership Initiative (a 2-day training requiring fees and a pastoral recommendation)
Purpose – to develop laity in one of five specific callings (evangelism, missions, leadership, teaching or congregational care) to serve their local church and have a more fruitful ministry in transforming lives and communities. In addition, participants will be required to complete the  UM Basic Foundation Class online at a cost of less than $10. Participants need to print the registration form –complete with pastor signature-- and mail with a $25 check or money order to:
South District
1062 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena TX 77504
DS Kip Gilts hopes there will be a strong attendance. He says, “Each of the 54 churches of the South District need effective lay leadership but we don’t often have the time to equip them for success.  Our members care about the community but don’t know how to organize effective ministry to transform it.” Adds Kip, “We have a tremendous faculty to lead the academy’s five tracks. Each participant will focus only on one of these five tracks of ministry by attending that training for both Sundays.” For example, Congregational Care class attendees who spend all of their time with facilitator Stacy Auld, would likely return to their church and be active in ministry related to congregational care.” In addition to the training in one of these specialized fields, all participants will be encouraged to complete an on-line course related to United Methodist history, polity, and doctrine. Each layperson that completes this on-line course and participates in the specialized training will receive a certificate in their specialized field at the South District Pre-Annual Conference Meeting in May.
Southwest District
January 24 (8:30 a.m. – noon) The Academy for Lay Leadership Initiative
This event at First UMC, Sugar Land offers 30 different workshops focusing on developing servant leadership for laity and clergy. This month’s agenda features a new workshop called “Ultimately Responsible Leadership,” based on conference speaker Sue Nilson Kibbey’s book. District Superintendent Jay Jackson, and Conference Center Directors and leaders Rev. Diane McGehee, Rev. Dr. Elijah Stansell, Paula Arnold, Rev. Thera Freeman, and Rev. C.J. Taylor will lead other workshops.  

Important First Steps to Make 2015 Different
According to Dr. Steve Stutz, spiritual director, certified life coach and VCI coach within the TAC, few people take the most important step to making a change. “Data gleaned from interviews with successful people in many different fields, reveals that success often follows those who write down their objectives and spend time on a daily basis renewing and visualizing their commitment to those goals,” he says. “Most people, I would speculate less than 10%, ever write down goals and probably less than 5% take the time to regularly review and update their lists.” He offers these five free resources for a strong start in 2015.

Is Training One of your Goals?
Decide what you – as an individual or church -- want to work on. It could be a goal related to your career, your spirituality, your financial situation, or possibly a purchase. Steve suggests starting with the goal you are most drawn to or one that will give you the quickest feeling of success. “Accomplishing your desired outcome is a matter of defining it, emotionally investing in it, and focusing on it consistently,” he explains.
Capture on paper how this goal will benefit you, your loved ones, fellow church members, or those you interact with at work, school, or socially. Adds Steve, “Picture yourself describing your goal as if you have already achieved it, and you are happy about how easy it all was. Once you have successfully achieved this goal, go back to your list and pick another item to work on. Begin the writing process all over, and create new affirmations. Eventually, if you persevere, you’ll work through your entire list!”