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Global Leadership Summit

 I just returned from the Global Leadership Summit (GLS), a simulcast meeting across the world of lay and clergy leaders in the United Methodist Church. We (the Central Texas Conference) held two major sites for presentation and discussion (Fort Worth and Temple). We opened the summit to all and invited anyone to attend!  Together we discussed “the adaptive challenge of the UMC” – to redirect the flow of attention, energy, and resources to an intense concentration on fostering and sustaining an increase in the number of vital congregations effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  The GLS looked at the four core commitments endorsed by the Council of Bishops and the Connection Table: 1.    The need for all levels of the UMC to align and focus for at least ten years on growing the number of vital congregations in part by employing statistical measures for tracking key performance areas; 2.     A call to reform the Council of Bishops to emphasize active bishops’ accountability for improving ministry results in the churches and annual conferences they serve as Resident Bishops; 3.     The need for improvements and aligning the process for identifying, training, credentialing, appointing and evaluating clergy leadership; 4.     Better coordinate the work of general agencies by sharpening their focus and reducing their cost. We also focused on local church and more specifically how the Conference might engage in “fostering congregational vitality in fulfilling our mission of making disciples and transforming the world.”  There was much to pray about, wrestle with, and learn from in our discussion. It was a good event.  I was struck by how much our discussion paralleled the congressional discussion of the U.S. budget. Everyone can agree on vague generalizations. The struggle comes in naming concrete specifics. It is easy to talk about transformation and reform. The pain and glory come in actually doing something.  “Doing something” involves hard choices and painful changes.  The session can be seen in its entirety with a survey by going to www.umcleadershipsummit.org.