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Questions for the Global Leadership Summit

April 6, 2011
1. The Council of Bishops and Connectional Table have said that the adaptive
challenge for the UMC is: “To redirect the flow of attention, energy, and resources to an
intense concentration on fostering and sustaining an increase in the number of vital
congregations effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the
world.”

a. Is the challenge clear and compelling?

2. The Council of Bishops & Connectional Table have affirmed:

1. The need for all levels of the UMC to align and focus for at least ten years on
growing the number of vital congregations in part by employing statistical measures
for tracking key performance areas
2. A call to reform the Council of Bishops to emphasize active bishop’s accountability
for improving ministry results in the churches and annual conferences they serve as
Resident Bishops
3. The need for improvements and aligning the process for identifying, training,
credentialing, appointing and evaluating clergy leadership.
4. Better coordinate the work of general agencies by sharpening their focus and
reducing their cost.
a. Do you agree that these 4 areas require urgent attention and action?

b. Which are most important?

In general the three questions below solicited similar answers across the table groups.
We have, therefore, categorized those responses and given a broad sense of the issues
addressed. The questions were:

1 b. What must be changed about the UMC to redirect attention and resources?

2 c. What additional aspects of UMC life should be addressed?

3 a. What changes in leadership, organization, and practices do you believe will be


most important to make in next few years in your annual conference?

Clergy
A number of responses pertained to the clergy within the United Methodist Church. The issues
raised there included:
 Changing the mentality of those serving from one of “career” to one of “ministry.”
 Effectiveness
 Spiritual depth
 Appointments based on gifts and graces rather than salary
 Clergy health and self-care practices
 More DS support
 Reclaim Wesleyan ID
 More training
 Mentoring and collegiality
 Accountability (attitude rather than evaluation)
 Longer appointments

General Church
 Term episcopacy
 Decrease bureaucracy/increase efficiency
 Improved communication
 Increased support of local churches

Laity
 Train and empower laity

Local Church
 Accountability especially regarding vitality
o Follow up strategies for revitalization, strengthening, merger, closure
 New church plants – support and resources
 Letting go of buildings – thinking about church in new ways

Annual Conference
 Consider new definitions of districts and DS functions
 Consider parish clusters/circuits
 Streamline and focus committees

3. The annual conference is the basic organizational unit of The United Methodist
Church. Given the challenge of fostering congregational vitality in fulfilling our
mission of making disciples and transforming the world,

b. What are you prepared individually and as a group to do that will support change and
set in place new ways of working and tracking progress?

This question brought personal and reflective responses rather than reportable data.
Below you will find the transcription of the table responses as recorded by the tables
themselves. The number indicate which table the response came from.

TNUMC Summit Responses #1

a) Is the challenge clear and compelling?


Yes / // No /////// No Answer ///

NO: We believe in vital congregations. We don’t know where we are directing attention from. #9
Needs to be fleshed out. #8
The consensus is that the challenge is NOT clear. Nor is it compelling. #3
Needs to be fleshed out. #8
Extension ministries are left out the ministries #1
Not really: it needs to be tilted toward God first, then structure. #13?
How can we change the challenge to make it clearer? More compelling? Slogan? More concise?
How do we determine vital congregations? #
Challenge is clear and compelling.
It is clear and compelling.
We agreed that the challenge is compelling, but we think it could be more clear and specific.
Questions we had: “Increase” the number… does it mean current or new churches? We believe
this challenge reaffirms the need for change—that most in leadership already feel—we don’t
necessarily feel that our churches-our people- would “get” this statement.
Agree with intent-not sure if written in way that is clear and compelling. Unsre of reception in
local church.

b) What must be changed about the UMC to redirect attention and resources?

1) Include other ministries in focus; Supervision of smaller churches, i.e. elder(?) circuit riders;
Identify missional churches and support by conference equitable compensation; streamline
agencies; clergy training.

2)Change bureaucracy to support the local congregations; Focus on districts versus the annual
conference; Presiding elders over small groups of congregations; Cross church laity development-
peers to grow and develop; Annual conferences need to quit dramatically changing focus every
year creating pastoral whiplash; Strip down to key areas; Districts could be re-grouped by size;
Refunding apportionment dollars to thriving congregations; Apportionments need to be re-
structured to a tithe and faith based model>allows us to celebrate.

3) Some congregations may need to be closed depending on ministry vitality/attendance


thresholds. A sustained effort is required unlike past quadrennial efforts. Financial constraints
require that dollars being sent from local churches to connection should be high value. Resources
should be given to growth instead of remediation for weak/dying areas of the church. Reduce
bureaucratic size of church. Free leaders from bureaucratic, tedious tasks that pull people away
from local church (ex: 4 hours of driving for a 20 min mtg.)

4) We believe there needs to be a better education to our congregations of where even our current
time, attention and resources go. We need to evaluate our amount of busyness and
overprogramming versus the heart of ministry. We felt we have a great resource of wisdom and
experience within our DSs, but that they are more centered around the bishops and administration
then they are in the districts. Would love to have more ‘feet on the ground’ from our DSs. To
redo the current structures and agencies, we know that some difficult financial questions have to
be addressed.

5) Better communication flow between all levels of church-general/episcopal to local. Foster clear
sense fo Godpel, Wesleyan riches in local congregation. Foster passion in local church/recover
Wesleyan emphases on inner and outer holiness.

6) How do we support our leadership in calling churches into question when not vital-when more
maintenance than ministry? How do we support leaders when we face resistance? Tools to
measure things like mission activity; deploy where young people are; more consistent
appointment guidelines: after 7 years increases but still people are moved after 3-4 years; looking
at the role of interim; how to nurture/foster an atmosphere that nurtures risk-taking?

7) Too many hoops. We need to be able to do our work without so many hoops. Clear out pipe
lines so things don’t get bogged down. Resources and energy getting to churches (local
congregations). Empower leaders (laity) in local church. Train clergy to train laity in mission.
Training of local pastors. Churches grouping together to assist in ministry/missions. Break down
the institution; Prayer and discernment; Not cookie cutter: each scenario is different.

8) Resources redirected to local congregations; Missional mindset to include local and global;
Change focus from Sunday am to all worship; More emphasis on evangelist as role within church;
Numbers important, but not whole story.

9) Raise congregational accountability as a significant factor; don’t trust top-down approaches;


local pastors need more support, sharing up, constructive critique.

10) We must now focus on congregations: make them vital. Attention has not been where it needs
to be. Congregations have been allowed to do “Whatever they want to do.” Some attention has
been given, but not as much as needed- not to congregation-as-fruitful. How do we measure
vitality? *Spiritual sermon to attract (5 practices), * Give them something to get them out of bed.
“ *having attending workshops “Rethink Church”, need to change our way of thinking. Use
medium, use cell phones. We’ve got to help congregations move away from traditionalism. Lay
leadership, small groups, pastor and church council can? to it all. We’ve go tot offer something
exciting. We’ve got to show this kind of webcast—good point—discrepancy between what
church leaders know and pews know!!!! We have to paint a picture of reality of a non-vital
church. DS’s must stand behind pastors who are beginning to help make a change. Who will the
new pastor be? Takes a longer time—appointment system . We need to equip our lay leadership
much better-. Educating our lay leaders, treasurers, etc others. What resources need to be re-
directed? How do we do this? Do we maybe close churches—underperforming after 3 years? Do
we redirect conferences support-adjust resources churches need to be identified—healthy,
unhealthy, etc. Send someone with a skill set. Would it ever make sense to take a strong
congregation and make it stronger?

11) Have basic requirements for churches before a pastor will be sent. Put money where priorities
are. Have appointive system based on gifts and graces not just salary. Put more emphasis on
leadership training of the laity on local church: matching their gifts with their passion and
churches ministry needs.

12) - the important thing to consider is that there becomes a trust issue between the
local church and the hierarchy. Any reporting and accountability can become vindictive and
inhibitive if there is not a relationship of trust.
- younger generations are turned off by levels of bureaucracy that they perceive as inhibitive. We
need younger people's in our church so need to take this into consideration
- these areas of focus are focused more on clergy leadership and top down leadership. Where does
the laity fit into this? Are the laity not integral in future church vitality?
- mutual accountability between lay and clergy in partnership is critical

13) What must change to redirect the flow of attention if resources to increase the number of vital
congregations and pursue deeper spiritualness. (church staff itself, because it kills it.?) Let people
start churches without jumping through hoops. Lay interpretation is needed; its complicated.
How to define vital congregations? Information chasm: this is not clear. Why set the stage? Go
where God is going. What must be changed. Tell stories of success. Let go of buildings. Give
churches permission to close. Deploy, redirect efforts. Give permission to merge; establish a
process.

14) We need new ways to start and revitalize churches. The current system supports territorial
issues with congregational growth. In the area of leadership development, the structures for new
clergy must be adapted to better equip them for ministry. We must develop stronger involvement
of the laity in the development of leadership. We must affirm that we are called to do ministry
that we yet don’t know how to do. We must recognize that easy answers do not exist for
difficult questions.
TNUMC Summit Responses #2

a) Do you agree that these 4 ares require urgent attention and action?

Yes – //////////
No – /
Some, Not All - ////
No Answer -

b) Which are most important?

The need for all levels of the UMC to align ///


and focus for at least ten years on growing
thenumber of vital congregations in part by
employing statistical measures for tracking
key performance areas
A call to reform the Council of Bishops to //
emphasize active bishop’s accountability for
improving ministry results in the churches
and annual conferences they serve as
Resident Bishops
The need for improvements and aligning the ///////
process for identifying, training, credentialing,
appointing and evaluating clergy leadership.
Better coordinate the work of general /
agencies by sharpening their focus and
reducing their cost.
Others //

c) What additional aspects of UMC life should be addressed?

1. Term limits for bishops. Restructuring committee on the episcopacy for


accountability. Evaluate course of study and licensing and seminary education around
expectation of clergy. Develop lay ministry and training – local churches offer move.
Training for laity
2. Pastors called to serve in some mission field, visit the Holy Land, spend time in a
general agency. Raise education level of clergy on an on-going basis. Support
structures for the pastors in a congregation – brother/sisterhood and kinship among
clergy means a high priority. Candidacy process is very back-end loaded. Need to
better attract effective lay people who are serving in ministry (BOMAC). Working to
fund education for all candidates in ministry fully. Matching needs of clergy with the
educational process. End ineffective programming at high levels and focus on funding
effective ministry – simplicity is good.
3. Improve efficiencies where possible – electronic filing of charge conference forms
(can’t get into ministry issues because of business issues). Accountability for laity as
well as clergy. Seminary training should be fore relevant to local church leadership and
be guided by feedback from clergy/local church/ episcopal leaders.
4. Is there a way to measure churches along the lines of certain demographics – rural,
suburban, urban… We don’t hink measurements can be the same across the board.
We feel accountability is missing on all levels. What ever happened the last new
initiative we had? What specifically does accountability and reform for bishops look
like? How are celebratory moments within congregations recognized by the larger
church? What about conflict? How do we start leading in new directions now when
there is conflict?
5. Concern that statistical measures be used to offer help – why are you not achieving
goals? How can we help? Discontinue guaranteed appts – have reasonably expected
appts. Sharpen biblical, spiritual, Wesleyan focus – intention behind everything we do
should be to make people aware of Christ and to change the world.
6. Could we develop an host self evaluation tool? We have the tools like charge
conference as an accountability tool; but the way these are viewed and undertaken,
we’ve lost the original intent as accountability to connection and to ourselves. What
might happen if we did away with all our boards? How might we rethink General
Conference? We need to address and correct a lack of models of risk taking
leadership?
7. How do we support our clergy when they start at a new church and they are trying to
lead a vital congregation that doesn’t want to be vital (Christian coaching and spiritual
direction for clergy – supply resources for clergy).
8. The Congregations! The focus here is on clergy – what about the laity? How do you
measure effectives for clergy and congregations beyond the numbers?
9. More focus on spiritual center, Wesleyan identity. Needs rooting in theology, not
business models. Need more appreciation of contextual differences. What is vitality
in a small congregation? Need clear definition of vitality. Focus on empowering laity.
Move from building focus to ministry focus. Lack of trust.
10. We would like to add laity – lay leadership – to point 3. Lay leadership is critical to
the future of the church. What do bishops do? How is the council of Bishops making
a change? How does that affect us? Some of our lay people took vacation or annual
leave to be here. Professions of faith are the job of everyone in a local church.
11. NO ANSWER
12. The important thing to consider is that there becomes a trust issue between the local
church and the hierarchy. Any reporting and accountability can become vindictive and
inhibitive if there is not a relationship of trust. Younger generations are turned off by
levels of bureaucracy that they perceive as inhibitive. We need younger people's in our
church so need to take this into consideration. These areas of focus are focused more
on clergy leadership and top down leadership. Where does the laity fit into this? Are
the laity not integral in future church vitality? Mutual accountability between lay and
clergy in partnership is critical
13. Team leadership must be developed. We are looking for all things in one leader – the
pastor. We are expecting the pastor to have all gifts. We must work to empower the
laity and not expecting pastors to do it all. Provide more opportunities to develop
young leaders and equip/empower them to lead.
14. Vital congregations adopt non-vital churches to coach, mentor nurture. Clergy
willingness to grow spiritually – measuring pastoral leadership vitality and holding
them accountable. Development of different vitality models. Communication of
general agency functions and roles to laity of church. What would a model of bishop
accountability look like?

TNUMC SUMMIT RESPONSES #3

a) What changes in leadership, organization, and practices do you believe will be most
important to make in (the) next few years in your annual conference?

1) a) Identify church laity leaders to be certified lay ministers, b) drop district representation on
committees to add people of passion for the committee, c) change districts to not be geographical
but into small membership churches, medium size, and large; then look for superintendents who
are skilled in these areas. D) Combine with Memphis conference. e) create unanimity for
dCOM’s, f) could add a DS for extension ministries (there is no supervision) or even ethnic DS.
g) use all groups to start new churches, h) visible Episcopal leadership, i) establish vision for
conference, j) respect for identity differences in ethnicity, worship expressions, cultures.

2) plant new churches  support role staff for fundraising, architecture. Willingness to close
dead, dying congregations and fund new growth. Raise expectation of churches, including full
time appointments. Full time congregations must pay health insurance of their appointed
pastor(s). embrace new models for sending younger clergy, churches. Contemporary, flexible
congregations. Longer appointments to build to thriving congregations (partnership btwn pastor
and leadership of the church)

3) Shared understanding of importance of local church for denominational vitality. Districts are
too large if we intend for the DS to function effectively. Could Districts be organized by
congregational size vs. geographic region with certain DS; specializing in small, medium, or large
membership churches? Reconsider the life-time episcopacy and requirement to serve other area.

4) Our conversation centered mostly around conference0level committees and trainings, events,
etc. Put clergy/laity on committees for which they have passions and gifts—different
nominations process. Evaluate-are all committees still purposeful? Continue to streamline
committees for less meetings and stretching of people. Concerning training and events—provide
quality stuff—and not having everything so localized in Nashville—this excludes people.

5) Help clergy avoid/relinquish career mentality. Focus on mission and ministry. Practical training
events have been well received, need to continue and offer at district level. Mandatory gathering
for clergy for holy conferencing, sharing of best practices, education, worship 4-6 x per year.
Internet/computer savvy clergy. Teaching at AC helpful.

6) Do away with bishop – change to general superintendents for 4 years., then go back into
ministry. Give bishops power with radical accountability.

7) Nurturing and support for clergy-healthy clergy. Educating congregation that laity are
ministers too. Pastors for pastors. Clergy also needs to accept laity leadership by alluring laity to
lead and empower them. Larger church support smaller churches with minister. Follow the
Gingingsburg (sp?) example in Ohio.
8) Changes in the clergy appointment process-especially with DSs match clergy and congregation.
Appointments beyond pastoral ministry. Prune ineffective clergy and ineffective churches.
Partner clergy with mentor or confessor-type for clergy mental health and growth. Grown the
congregation, grow the laity. Don’t schedule meetings for clergy convenience—middle of the
day, middle of the week not good for working laity!!!.

9) Staff and leadership should be out in congregations all the time. Focus on collecting best
practices and resources (staff). The way we conference needs to be rethought. Need redefinition
of what it means to be connectional. Focus on Hope and possibility, not negativity. Better
matching of gifts and graces. Collegial/connectional development. Need more relationship space.
More collegiality among ministers. Simplification of structure

10) We need to start new churches. We need to track clergy and congregational effectiveness to
help things get better. Not punishment. How could evaluation process be more than just an exit
strategy? Is there an issue of making better “matches” or can it be done in existing?

11) Annual conference: structure it to include ways for building trust between clergy and laity.
AC to identify and encourage teach parishes, visioning, vital practices, share models of success.
Conference office needs to coordinate resources for local church-ie who to contact (which church)
for info on Hispanic church; teaching church on visioning process; etc. Help churches to improve
in areas to improve vitality. REFORM APPOINTMENT PROCESS.

12) - the way annual conference is done - less reporting and more story telling and christian
conferencing - foster the way we help laity find their place - look at how we spend our money
and prioritize in a way that facilitates and empowers ministry at the local church - make sure
there is diversity in leadership who are qualified - make charge conference a more spiritual,
interactive, celebrative and worshipful time - make the work from local church to district to
conference more fluid - ask more questions and listen to the answers instead of giving directives
and continuing with the "same things we have always done" - work toward ways of Internet
based meetings at conference level - make each district office a technology center for conference
video meetings

13) Equip leaders, not to preach only but to LEAD effectively. Move from a system built on
information to one of relationship and transformation.

14) Communication of resources and opportunities. Review process of ordination. Every elder
and deacon should receive an ipad at ordination (this is not a joke)

b) What are you prepared individually and as a group to do that will support change and set
in place new ways of working and tracking progress?

1) Continuing education for clergy to be traced and hold clergy accountable. Center for Church
Leadership to provide more training.
2) Support conference youth ministry to raise new generation of leaders. Invest in younger youth
workers to grow healthy sources of new leaders.
3) Support national initiatives in whatever ways requested. Try to recruit younger laity to
participate in leadership on local, district, and conference. Embody radical hospitality—as an
individual and invite others to join.
4) Speak hope into the future of our congregations (even when we don’t always feel so hopeful).
Educate our congregations more about our connectional system. Willingness to be accountable.
Willingness to go where sent.
5) Learn form others. Buld community/encourage others. Ready to obey, say amen and yes.
6)
7) Change is going to be difficult.
8) Keep asking “Where’s our faith?” Look for ways to measure “progress.”
9) Participation in more relationship activities. Prepared to be honest about numbers. 9working
collegial for honest improvements. Need to seek God’s desires first. Willing to be in a true,
independent accountability group. Willing to continue someone who critiques communication
skills. Need systems for discerning gifts and weaknesses, and connecting gifts with needs.
10) I can lift up what is positive, strengthen this, show it as exemplary-as a DS I can support
pastors who are trying so hard in difficult circumstances, churches that are really making things
happen. Where do the gifts and graces as leaders really work-not just trying to go up the ladder?
A supplement to pay new church starters or revitalizers…Is it just one of the individual sacrifices
that someone might be called on to make? To serve a church that is something less than the
“top”—get off the ‘ladder,” preachers. What do we do tomorrow?
11) Work on TRUST issues. Celebrate successes with each other. Build pastoral relationship.
Invest time in future leaders.
12)
13) Innovate based on needs of unchurched and de-churched following a Biblical mandate. Look
at Acts 6. We are trying to innovate without including de-churched and unchurched in the
conversation. Stop saying yes but… ask why not? Yes and what if? Use language that is
common, not church-centric. Partner with other denominations. Grow what is growing. Sunday
School is outdated. Stop being transmitters of information. Transform the methodology and
practices of our publishing house.
14) Lay training more local – less Nashville-centered. Use of web and electronic resources.
Narrow focus so ministries become exceptional. Laity testimonies about how Christ is working
in lives.