Matthew 28:19: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The Congregational Vitality Team of the Mission Shaped Future process has worked hard to develop a strong vision of what supporting vital and healthy congregations looks like in the new Mountain Sky Conference. While there is still work to be done to further develop the strategies that will help us live out what is recommended in our report, this is a critical starting point that reinforces focus of the new conference on supporting local congregations to be more effective disciple makers who in turn make God’s love real through worship, devotion, mercy, and justice.
In 2014, the General Council on Finance and Administration did a small study on recent conference mergers and their effects on things such as local church worship attendance, general church apportionment payments, and similar measures. The study found that recent mergers don’t have a dramatic impact one way or another on these things. They don’t appear to be positive or negative. As we looked at the plans other conferences developed there were some rather telling omissions.
Each plan included the expected administrative and financial components but what they lacked was any understanding where the time, resources, and energy saved through joining together would be channeled. We in the Mountain Sky Area have stated clearly from the beginning that we wanted to create a new, more efficient, way of being an annual conference so we could reinvest the savings in building up more vital congregations and developing the new generation of Christian leaders.
The report we release today is an important part of articulating why creating a new conference will help us reach our goal to "re-ignite a Christian movement that begins with grace, offer abundant life, and reclaims the life-changing love of Jesus Christ for ALL people."
There can be no strong annual conference without strong local congregations. Our connectional structure gives us a huge advantage in supporting each of our local churches if we choose to use it that way. Creating a new conference gives us a once in a generation opportunity to embed a new vision and purpose in our new conference and its cortical that we take advantage of that. Please review the report and videos. The work of further developing this will be handed over to the Congregational Vitality and Community Engagement teams. Our hope is that they will lead us all through a process of living out what has been presented here.