Workshops provide tools for ministry
BY MEAGAN EWTON
OKLAHOMA CITY — More than 20 workshops were offered at the 2018 Annual Conference to provide 1,200 delegates and other church leaders with practical tools to fulfill the mission of the Church.
The workshops were offered in two sessions: one tailored by church size and the other by ministry topic. Topics ranged from discipleship in the workplace to addressing community trauma to exploring fresh expressions of worship.
Attendee Jill Perrin said the workshop led by Office of Mission Director Jeremy Basset called for churches to engage their communities beyond the church walls.
“Jeremy challenged the group to get to know the convenience store clerks, apartment managers, and school teachers who can give a better sense of who lives in the community and what they need,” Perrin said. “Once a church meets its neighbors it can begin to meet their neighbors’ needs, inviting not only church members but everyone in the neighborhood to join the Kingdom work God has set before it.”
Lisa Anderson attended the session for churches that average fewer than 75 in weekly attendance. She noticed an emphasis on intentional discipleship and a theme around community relationships.
“The panel said there has to be a specific vision that meets a need encountered in the community, and the church has to be willing to say yes,” Anderson said. “Finally, the church has to trust that God can accomplish more than the limited resources seem to indicate.”
Wendee Perceful learned about school partnerships and listening tours with educators, presented by Tiffany Nagel Monroe, who leads Shawnee-St. Paul’s UMC.
“Tiffany told us a church has to have a better reason to start a school partnership than not wanting to die,” Perceful said. “Partnerships are about relationships and finding out what the other person or organization needs.”
Carlos Ramirez presented demographic tools the Oklahoma Conference offers its churches during his session “Know Your Community: Demographic Information and Possibilities.” ZeeMap combines census information with local school demographics, and MissionInsite provides a socioeconomic overview of the local community.
“Between the ZeeMap and MissionInsite, the Conference offers rich resources in order for local congregations to better know their communities,” Rev. Ramirez said.
David Gardner, pastor at Duncan-St. Paul’s UMC, appreciated Chris Tiger’s workshop on Fresh Expressions, a worship movement started in the United Kingdom.
Rev. Tiger’s material stated, “Some may have heard that Fresh Expressions are only for millennials, but actually the Holy Spirit is at the start of every Fresh Expression, and the Holy Spirit can use the gifts and grace of anyone and everyone who is seeking to be a follower of Jesus.”
Find resources from many of the Annual Conference Workshops here.