Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Attend strategic plan Listening Conference Saturday, Jan. 23, from 10 am to 12 noon

Coming up: A meeting you and I should not miss

Every concerned lay person in the United Methodist Church should try to attend one of the upcoming Listening Conferences to learn more about the proposed new Strategic Plan for the North Texas Conference.

Fortunately for Tinney Chapel, the first of these Listening Conferences will be in our District, at First UMC Sulphur Springs, Saturday, Jan. 23, from 10 am to 12 noon.

Here's what Bishop Earl Bledsoe has to say about the proposed new Strategic Plan and the Listening Conferences:

Happy New Year!!! This
is an exciting time to be alive

in the world and in the life of

the church.


NTC Strategic



(SPT) has


the first

draft of a

plan to align

the conference with a strategic

missional focus. The team

worked hard to pull together the

hopes and dreams of both laity

and clergy within the conference

as well as researching

other areas to gather knowledge

and information about best

practices and steps forward.

I am pleased that the

outcome of the work will be

focused on the mission field

and how we as a conference

can effectively reach that field

for Jesus Christ. Some things

will remain the same, but some

things will need to change if we

are going to focus our efforts

on leadership development,

starting new congregations and

helping to transform existing

ones, ministering with the poor

and eradicating killer diseases,

such as malaria, in the world.

Each of you will have an

opportunity to review and

comment on the draft proposal

prior to its consideration by

the 2010 Annual Conference.

My hope and prayer is that

you will attend the listening

conferences that are scheduled

for each district within the

next few weeks.

The SPT under the leadership

of Dr. John Fiedler have

done an outstanding job of

getting us to this point in the

process. Your input over the

next few weeks will determine

the success of us being able

to adopt the plan and begin
implementing it right after annual

conference of this year. This will

be a bold step for the conference;

one that I know will require the

cooperation, support and prayers

of each and everyone to see it

through to transition and completion.

During times such as these

I find comfort in knowing that

the spirit of God is with us and

will continue to guide and direct

the work to its completion. I

like what the prophet Isaiah had

to say about change and doing

things in a different way when

the people of God were moving

from a place of comfort to an

unknown place of promise:

“But I’ll take the hand of

those who don’t know the way,

who can’t see where they’re

going. I’ll be a personal guide

to them, directing them through

unknown country. I’ll be right

there to show them what roads

to take, make sure they don’t

fall into the ditch. These are the

things I’ll be doing for them—

sticking with them, not leaving

them for a minute.” (Isaiah

42:16, The Message)

The promises of God are

still with us today. I look

forward to another good year

as we reach out and make

disciples of Jesus Christ for the

transformation of the world.

Following are excerpts from a front-page article in the current North Texas Methodist Reporter which gives a few details, by Rev. Lisa Greenwood of First UMC Commerce, about the proposed new Strategic Plan for our Conference:

We are called to fruitfulness

and nothing less.

The plan enumerates that in

order to reach our mission field

and be more fruitful in our

mission, four strategic changes

are needed:

1 Establish the UMC’s four

areas of focus as the strategic

priorities of the NTC.

2 Reduce the number of

districts of the NTC and revision

the role of the DS’s.

3 Streamline, flatten, and

reorganize the conference

structure and staffing to address

these priorities most


4 Realign our financial resourc-

es to reflect these priorities.

The plan further illumines

how these changes can transpire

in our conference. These

changes occur at the Annual

Conference level and are not

local church programs, but if

embraced and implemented,

will positively impact the local

church’s ability to live out

the mission of making disciples

for the transformation

of the world.

I am genuinely excited by

the direction our conference is

headed and look forward to the

conversations we’ll have over

the next few months as we hone

and polish our plan to get there!
In District Meetings held

January 23 through February 7,

John Fiedler and Fiona Macleod

Butts will lay out the plan for

pastors and key lay leaders.

I, for one, am very excited!

There were times along the way

I thought it would be very easy

to get caught up in yet another

program for local churches OR

to find ourselves limited by “the

way we’ve always done it.”

I believe we avoided both of

those traps!

After months of research,

conversation, discernment,

prayer, and listening, I truly

believe we have a plan that

takes us to new places and has

the potential to dramatically

transform our conference.

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