Monday, February 20th, it was officially announced that the Central Texas Methodist Foundation (CTMF) and the Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF) have joined forces and resources. There is a detailed article about the joining of “forces and resources” at the Conference web-site. I applaud the forward thinking vision of both agencies – their leaders, Tom Locke (TMF) and Pat Sprayberry Hall (CTMF), and the respective Boards. As I stated in the article, “The Texas Methodist Foundation has an unparalleled reputation for providing excellent financial and leadership services to the United Methodist churches and individuals throughout Texas. We have been blessed over the years by the kingdom building ministry of both Foundations. The wise decision to combine resources will greatly benefit the mission and ministry of the Central Texas Conference.” We of the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church owe a deep debt of gratitude to both organizations and are blessed by their crucial alignment of resources for ministry. On another topic, Rev. David Alexander (Associate Pastor, First UMC, Mansfield) has been helping me with reverse mentoring. (Pray for him! He has his work cut out for him!) In our work together we have decided to launch a new podcast version of This Focused Center. It may be accessed on my blog site (the bottom right hand corner), www.bishopmikelowry.com/podcast, or by going to the “Bishop’s Corner” on the Conference Web-site (www.ctcumc.org) and clicking “Podcasts & Multimedia”. The first two sessions involved David and I together looking at our ministry. Following sessions will include interviews of Bishop Robert Schnase (author of The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations and The Five Practices of Faithful Living), Rev. Leah Hidde-Gregory, pastor of the Frost-Italy Charge, on explosive growth in professions of faith in a small rural town setting in combination with great missional outreach to those in need, and Mr. Bob Bush, a lay member of Mansfield’s First UMC and leader in Kairos prison ministry.