I’m pleased to report that for the last several months, more than 50 lay and clergy from the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone annual conferences have been working hard to develop a plan for the creation of a new conference in our area. As we look toward a Mission Shaped Future together, we have been keeping one goal in mind. Our goal in creating a new conference is:
The Mountain Sky Conference will re-energize a Christian movement that begins with grace, offers abundant life, and reclaims the life changing love of Jesus Christ for ALL people. Our goal is for this to be the prevailing Christian theme in our area by 2030.
We first presented this bold and audacious goal as part of our 2017 annual conference report. This goal is only possible with God’s help at every step of the way. Yet, we feel called to put in front of us a God-sized dream and place our trust in the Holy Spirit to lead us there.
Many of you have questions about how this process is unfolding and what you can expect in the time leading up to our 2018 Joint Annual Conference in Ogden, Utah. The intention of the Mission Shaped Future guiding team is to bring a proposal to joint annual conference that, if approved, would have us begin a new life together as the Mountain Sky Conference. Some of the
topics we are currently exploring that we expect to have in the plan include:
Our leadership structure (committees and teams)
Combined staffing structure
Office locations and responsibilities
District and circuit boundaries
Clergy compensation, health insurance, and pension options
Values for clergy itinerancy
Combined budget and finance
While this is a great deal of work, we have been actively researching options, and expect concrete proposals to begin taking shape soon. To help us explore what is possible, we have contracted with the Rev. John Wimberly, a leadership consultant from the former Alban Institute.
Rev. Wimberly is in the process of conducting one-on-one interviews with key leaders and staff across the area. He is also hosting several focus groups to assure a wide variety of voices are heard. If you would like to participate in one of these interviews, please contact Nancy Butterfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Rocky Mountain Conference office. Rev. Wimberly’s recommendations, along with a detailed report from the General Conference on Finance and Administration (GCFA), will be important tools for our work.
All this effort will be worthwhile it if helps us achieve what we have said from the beginning is our aim. That is, to align the resources of the Mountain Sky Area (funding, people, programs) first and foremost for the following purposes:
Renew and establish vital congregations.
Develop lay and clergy leaders who are gifted at empowering local churches in their mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Establish new churches and faith communities to meet the needs of our unique mission fields.
We are aiming for nothing less than a simpler, faster moving, and mission driven annual conference which is focused on the health and vitality of our local churches. It will take a lot of prayer and creativity to get us there, but with God’s help what can stand in our way?
Look for the first public draft for the new Mountain Sky Conference in mid- to late-February. We anticipate having a means of public comment and online town hall style gatherings for anyone interested to discuss the plan. To stay up to date with Mission Shaped Future news visit http://www.mtnskyumc.org/missionshapedfuture. Please continue to keep the process in your prayers as we continue to pray for The United Methodist Church as a whole.