By this time next week, clergy and laity from all across the Central Texas Conference will be in the middle of the worship, business and fellowship of our 2011 Annual Conference gathering. For those of you who may be new to the United Methodist culture, each year – usually around June – all clergy members and an equal number of lay members selected from the local churches meet together to worship, have fellowship and conduct the business of the conference. During these sessions, members of the conference hear reports of past and ongoing work; adopt future goals, programs and budgets; ordain clergy members as deacons and elders; and every four years, the members of the conference elect delegates to Jurisdictional and General Conference – this year is one of those voting years.
One of the real treats for the mind and soul at Annual Conference are the featured preachers and the exceptional messages they bring. This year will be no exception to the exceptional when Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor, Church of the Resurrection UMC, Leawood, Kansas, brings us his message on Leading Beyond the Walls: Lessons in Leadership, Worship and Evangelism. These messages are energetic, visual and down-to-earth sessions designed to energize and equip clergy and lay alike- no matter what sized congregation or community in which they live and serve – to go out and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Rev. Hamilton will lead the first session during the opening evening worship service, Sunday, June 5 at First United Methodist Waco. Sessions 2 & 3 will take place during the general session meetings on Monday, June 6 at the Waco Convention Center. Here are the planned topics and summaries of Rev. Hamilton’s presentations:
- Session One: Effective Church Leadership – The role of a leader; how leadership and management differ; the personal characteristics of leaders people follow; the practices of effective leaders; the importance of leading change; what excellent customer service looks like; and an introduction to strategic planning.
- Session Two: Ideas for Preaching and Worship – The characteristics of effective preaching; how to prepare sermons that connect; using video in preaching; the aim of worship; as well as offering examples of multiple different sermons.
- Session Three: Strategies for Reaching the Un-churched – Why un-churched people are un-churched; strategies for outreach; effective follow-up on first time visitors; and how to improve the church’s witness in the community. This session will include an inspirational conclusion on The Future and Promise of Methodism. In it Adam will make the case for Methodism in the 21st century.
In 1990, following a stint as an associate pastor in a United Methodist congregation, Rev. Hamilton was appointed to plant a new church in south Johnson County, Kansas after requesting permission from the local bishop to do so. The bishop excitedly cast a vision to Hamilton that, given 10 years, the church might even grow to 500 members. While that goal might have seemed aggressive at the time, it proved to be rather short-sighted as a mere 21 years later The Church of the Resurrection is the largest United Methodist in the United States with a reported membership of more than 17,000. So it is easy to see that Rev. Hamilton knows a thing or two about growing a church. What isn’t so immediately apparent is his commitment to the renewal of the mainline church, especially the United Methodist Church. These sessions promise to be exciting and educational opportunities that should not be missed, especially for anyone interested in energizing and growing their local church.
As always, if you’d like more information on the 2011 Central Texas Annual Conference, see the 2011 Annual Conference link on this site.