This is part of a series of posts in which I am responding to questions of purpose and improvement for the annual conference in the United States.
In paragraph 601 of the United Methodist Book of Discipline there is a dual purpose for the annual conference – to equip local churches for ministry and to provide a connection for ministry beyond the local church.
I think that there are several key areas in which the annual conference could improve in providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church:
- Clear communication around connectional giving – There is a lot of God’s work that happens as a result of apportionments from the local church. I think that annual conferences could be more effective in communicating what is happening in the annual conference and just not around the world as a result of these gifts. This would increase the connection between the local church, giver and mission environment
- Provide ministry collaboration opportunities – I think that the annual conference could be more active in providing a clearinghouse or connection point for ministry opportunities among congregations. This may be an event where a local congregation is taking the lead, but others may be involved. It would not have to be something that is conference wide, but would still encourage collaboration. Perhaps activity on the district level would be possible.
- Partner with local secular mission agents – There could be increased collaboration between an annual conference and other non-profits that are active in the area. I think that sacred and secular partnerships are most often a great thing. This would provide greater effectiveness in mission and greater visibility of the work of the church.
What would you add? What are other potential areas for improvement?