Wesleyan Leadership Conference to Focus on Evangelism

Evangelism is a key component to the church in the U.S. regaining its vitality according to church leaders throughout the United Methodist connection. Bishop Lowry recently stated in an article for United Methodist Communications that he thinks just about every U.S. conference needs to recover an evangelistic thrust and spirit — a drive not only to invite people to church but also to give them a reason to keep coming back.
We will recover our ability to do evangelism or we will die as a denomination,” stated Bishop Lowry.
And recovering that ability is just what the 2013 Wesleyan Leadership Conference intends to do. Each year, the Wesleyan Leadership Conference’s aim is to help The United Methodist Church develop leaders for congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This year’s focus will be on evangelism.
A professor at Wesley Theological Seminary and noted researcher of evangelistic theology and practices will be the keynote speaker at the fourth annual Wesleyan Leadership Conference.
Dr. F. Douglas Powe Jr., the James C. Logan Professor of Evangelism and Urban Ministry at the Washington seminary, will use lecture and small group discussion to describe his definition of evangelism during the Oct. 17-19 conference at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) in Nashville.

“The focus of this year’s conference is ‘Witness to Jesus Christ: Wesleyan Evangelism Where You Are’ and Dr. Powe will provide a powerful message about the Wesleyan evangelistic traditions,” said Steven Manskar, Director of Wesleyan Leadership at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD).

Powe is part of the faculty of Wesley’s Urban Ministry program, which is located near the White House and U.S. Capitol building in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood of downtown Washington. The program centers on contextual education, in partnership with two historic churches.

Heather Lear, Director of Evangelism at GBOD, will lead conference participants in developing practical take-home tools for Wesleyan evangelism in their particular contexts.
On Saturday morning, Bishop Bill McAlilly of the Tennessee Annual Conference will offer his reflections on evangelism, along with the mission of the church and ways bishops and conferences can encourage and support the practice of evangelism in local congregations.

The Wesleyan Leadership Conference is open to all United Methodist lay and clergy leaders. The registration fee for individuals is $129 and drops to $109 for groups of three or more. The event qualifies for 1.3 CEUs.

A pre-conference workshop on Covenant Discipleship will be available on Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 2-6 p.m. Led by Steven Manskar, the workshop will cover the basics of Covenant Discipleship groups and Class Leaders – what they are, how they work and where they fit in the mission of the church.

“Covenant Discipleship is how congregations form disciples who make disciples,” Mr. Manskar said. “Covenant Discipleship groups are 5-7 people who meet for one hour a week for mutual accountability and support for discipleship.” Some of the people in covenant discipleship groups will become disciples who disciple others in the congregation, he said.

“In the Wesleyan tradition, disciples who disciple others are known as Class Leaders. They are women and men who work in partnership with the pastor help the congregation live out its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” Mr. Manskar said. “While the pre-conference workshop is for leaders interested in learning about Covenant Discipleship for the first time, it will also be a good refresher for anyone with Covenant Discipleship experience.”

The cost of the pre-conference workshop is $25.

To register for the conference or the pre-conference workshop, go to gbod.org/wesleyanleadership. For more information, contact Manskar by email at smanskar@gbod.org or by phone toll free at (877) 899-2780, ext. 1765.