CTC Terms & Definitions

Central Texas Conference Review of Terminology

The Mission of the Central Texas Conference:
Energizing and equipping local churches to make disciples of Jesus Christ through the transformation of the world.
 
The Vision of the Central Texas Conference:
The CTC vision is faithful and fruitful local churches all across the conference that are transforming the world.
 
Core Strategies: To engage in and develop the work of the conference through
1.     Wesleyan Spirituality and Theology
2.     Transformation of local churches
3.     Clergy and Lay leadership
4.     Ministry with the poor
5.     New churches
6.     Accountability
7.     Extravagant Generosity
 
Core Values:
1.     Evangelism
2.     Wesleyan Tradition
3.     Spiritual Growth
4.     Mission
5.     Inclusiveness
 
 
The Exodus Project: a Transformational Roadmap for a Church in Transition (click here to read)
The Exodus Project is about a shift in mindset. It sees the church as an organism and not an organization. It is built on the idea that we need to travel light, not weighed down by an institutional structure that is expensive to maintain and not nimble enough to respond to change. This is an organizational process built on the idea of moving forward. It is built on the idea that change will happen and we need a process that can respond to that change quickly.
 
 
The Conference Core Team will keep us on task and help us set benchmarks as we move ahead in ministry. The Core Team creates a culture of accountability toward the outcomes and direction laid out by the Annual Conference. This group identifies emerging missional needs and deploys resources to meet the need. It provides feedback to the three centers on their tactics and outcomes. It determines other task groups needed, such as; Annual Conference Planning, Personnel oversight, and recommendations on changes to CTC Guiding Principles and Best practices. The Core Team is convened by Bishop Lowry.
 
 
Missional:
The term “Missional” represents a significant shift in the way we think about the church. As the people of a missionary God, we ought to engage the world the same way God does-by going out rather than just reaching out. A missional theology is not content with mission being a church-based work. Rather, it applies to the whole of life of every believer. Every disciple is to be an agent of the kingdom of God, and every disciple is to carry the mission of God into every sphere of life. We are all missionaries sent into a non-Christian culture.
 
 
Connectionalism:
One word unique and basic to United Methodism is “connectionalism.” That means simply that all United Methodist leaders and congregations are connected by certain loyalties and commitments that call us to live in covenantal accountability and empower us to be in ministry around the world.

The United Methodist Church, which began as a movement and a loose network of local societies with a mission, grew into one of the most carefully organized and largest denominations in the world. The United Methodist structure and organization was designed to accomplish John Wesley’s goal of spreading “Scriptural holiness” over the land.

United Methodists may be amazed at the many organizational layers of church life, but members of other denominations have been heard to say: “If you want something done, get the United Methodists to do it.” Followers of the Wesley’s are indeed “methodical” about their approach to mission and ministry.

One reason United Methodists can do great things is the church’s emphasis on “connectionalism.” Sometimes United Methodist leaders speak of the denomination as “the connection.” This concept has been central to Methodism from its beginning.

No local church is the total body of Christ. Therefore, local United Methodist congregations are bound together by a common task and common governance that reach out into the world. United Methodist churches and organizations join in ministry with each other and with other denominations.

Connectionalism comes to life through the clergy appointment system, through the outreach United Methodists do together and through giving.

An example of being connectional is Africa University, founded by The United Methodist Church in 1992 and already changing the face of the continent. No one congregation could have developed the university, but together we make a tremendous difference!
 
 
Connectional Mission Giving:
 
Connectional mission giving is built upon our desire to meet the needs of God's family in our neighborhoods and around the world and our need to give in order to be spiritually healthy, complete children of God.
 
 
Today, we United Methodists join across our connected mission fields to help all of God's children…whenever and wherever we can. Just as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes when the crowd grew hungry, through our mission fields, we are the heart, spirit and hands of God's outreaching love.
 
This is how it works from a practical standpoint. The General Conference establishes budgets for the denomination’s general funds. These are divided among annual conferences, based on a specific formula. Each annual conference, using its own approved formula, divides these fund requests, along with conference administrative and benevolence fund requests, among local churches. In addition, individuals, local churches, districts and annual conferences may make monetary gifts to the designated funds, of which 100 percent goes directly to a specific project or ministry. Together, apportioned and designated funds represent our connectional giving. 

By combining several smaller gifts into a larger amount, we can effect change across the world. Individual churches can minister to a small area; however, as a connectional church, we can do big things, all in the name of Jesus Christ. 
 
The cabinet under the leadership of the bishop is the expression of superintending leadership in and through the annual conference. It is expected to speak to the conference and for the conference to the spiritual and temporal issues that exist within the region encompassed by the conference. The CTC Cabinet structure is currently comprised of 6 superintendents, the Executive Directors of Center for Evangelism and Church Growth (who also serves as DS to New Church Starts), Center for Leadership (who also serves as DS to Campus Ministry) and Center for Mission Support and the Conference Lay Leader.
 
 
Appointment Philosophy:
Our clients in appointment making are:
1.     God-The Kingdom of God
2.     The Mission Field
3.     Congregations
4.     Clergy
In this order!
 
 
 
District Superintendent (Mission Strategist):
Conference Mission Strategists is the new term to describe the major role for District Superintendents in the CTC. They are appointed by the bishop to conference-wide responsibilities and later assigned to be the DS (mission strategist) to a specific district. The Church expects, as part of the ministry, that they will be the chief missional strategist of the district and be committed to living out the values of the Church, including a mandate of inclusiveness, modeling, teaching, and promoting generous Christian giving, cooperating to develop Christian Unity, and ecumenical, multicultural, multiracial, and cooperative ministries; and working with persons across the Church to develop programs of ministry and mission that extend the witness of Christ into the world. They serve as an extension of the office of bishop.
 
This oversight requires the DS (Conference Mission Strategist) to use his or her gifts and skills related to spiritual and pastoral leadership, personnel leadership, administration, and program but first and foremost as strategist and steward of the United Methodist witness.
 
 
 
Executive Staff:
Bishop Lowry uses this group to help coordinate the day to day work of the Conference.  It is comprised of the Bishop, Dean of Cabinet and the three Executive Directors of the Centers (one of which serves as Assistant to the Bishop).
 
 
The Connectional Table is intended to make sure that all voices are represented around the table and are heard in the conversation about the mission and ministry of the church. The group is inclusive in nature and collaborative in style. It enables the flow of information and communication. It is a coordination body.
 
 
Mission Field:
 
The mission field is understood as the overall context for ministry. It may be the setting within which a local church ministers. The mission field may be a population in and around the local church’s community which is not being reached. It may be a population that does not have a United Methodist congregation in the vicinity. This perception challenges pastors and congregations to be outward focused, not inward. It encourages risk-taking on behalf of mission.
 
The mission field of The Central Texas Conference UMC also encompasses a geographical area populated by over 3,679,565 people, spread over 33,677 square miles, and served by approximately 340 United Methodist churches and fellowships. We are called to provide for the temporal and spiritual needs of all, especially those not yet known to us.
 
 
 
Five Practices:
The CTC has chosen to use Bishop Robert Schnase’s books The Five practices of Fruitful Living and The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, as our common language for engaging one another and our faith communities. It is language and practice which both holds us accountable and energizes and equips.
 
1.     Radical Hospitality
2.     Passionate Worship
3.     Intentional Faith Development
4.     Risk-Taking Mission and Service
5.     Extravagant Generosity
 
 
Four Focus Areas:
This is a denomination-wide emphasis that enables us to fulfill the church’s mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
1.     Developing Principled Christian Leaders
2.     New Places for New People & Renewing Existing Congregations
3.     Engaging in ministry with the poor
4.     Stamping Out Killer Diseases of Poverty by Improving Health Globally
 
 
1.     Average Weekly Worship Attendance
2.     Professions of Faith and Reaffirmations of faith
3.     Involvement in Small Discipling Groups
4.     Involvement in Service beyond the Congregation
5.     Total Giving
6.     Transformational Stories
 
 
This centers focus is primarily on new church starts and missional communities of faith. The center handles the functions and connectional relationships of groups like; Small membership/Rural churches, Transformation of local churches, Student Leadership Team, Youth and Young Adults, Ethnic local church concerns, Community Development and Evangelism. The Executive Director serves on the Executive Staff and cabinet.
 
This center’s focus is primarily on leadership development both of clergy and laity. As such Board of Ordained Ministry and the Conference Lay Servant Ministry Team are key fields around which our work is framed. Parts of that work include improvement or engagement in Spiritual Formation, Preaching, Coaching, Internships and providing targeted leadership training/events. The Executive Director of this center currently serves as Assistant to the Bishop and therefore works closely with the Bishop’s office in Annual Conference Planning, resourcing the Conference Core Team, Conference Nominations and Leadership Development, Dean of Cabinet, recruiting of new, younger and more diverse leadership, coordinating and vetting persons who want to transfer into our conference plus other clergy issues such as overseeing compliance to the Conference’s Prevention of Sexual Misconduct Training, working with Joint BOM Ethics Team on policies. The Center oversees the work of conference communications, campus ministry, and resourcing several groups which organizationally reside within the center (Episcopacy Committee, The Orders, and The Academy for Spiritual Formation).  The Executive Director serves on the Executive Staff and Cabinet.
 
This center oversees the work of the technical areas of finance, conference treasurer and secretary, health insurance, benefits, stewardship, Archives and History, and the Executive Director is part of the Annual Conference Task Force, and gives any statistical assistance. Mission Support Center is responsible to focus and guide the mission of the UMC within CTC. It focuses and guides the mission through entities like the Connectional Table, Glen Lake Camp and Stillwater Retreat Center, Inclusiveness, Christian Unity, Outreach and Discipleship ministries, CTCYM and Volunteers in Mission. The Executive Director serves on the Executive Staff and Cabinet.
 
 
Local Church Lay Servant
Serves primarily in the local congregation (See requirements here)
 
Certified Lay Servant
Serves in the local congregation and beyond (See requirements here)
 
Certified Lay Speaker-Pulpit Supply  
Specified classes and training required  (See requirements here)
 
Certified Lay Minister 
Assigned by a Conference Missional Strategist (DS) to a particular ministry within the District or Annual Conference to provide leadership  (See requirements here)