By Rev. Youngsook Kang
Director of Mission and Ministry
Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist Church
"How do we help individual churches and church systems move from intentions to priorities, and from priorities to real-life changes?" This question sparked a whole afternoon of discussion at the 2014 Leadership Summit.
About one hundred leaders of the Rocky Mountain Conference gathered for a continuing conversation on disciple-making ministry at the 2014 Leadership Summit, which was held on Sept. 27 at St Andrew United Methodist Church. These leaders included 25 committee chairpersons representing 35 boards and agencies across the Rocky Mountain Conference.
One topic of conversation was disciple-making led by Dr. Gil Rendle who defined and clarified outcomes of our work and connected SMART goals to the quadrennial theme of the Tree of Life. According to Dr. Rendle, for the church, an outcome is (1) the difference (2) you believe God has called you to make (3) in this next chapter of your life. An example of an outcome is a congregation that commits itself to increase the percentage of high school students in their community who escape poverty by extending their education beyond 12th grade. (Read about outcome-based ministry)
Bishop Elaine shared another important topic: The merger recommendation that came from the Futures Task Force of the Yellowstone Conference. She said that leaders of the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone Conferences received a recommendation to enter into a serious discussion about merging these two Conferences and creating a new Mountain Sky Annual Conference. This recommendation prompted many responses from the floor, including a key question of "How do we enter into a serious conversation with Yellowstone about ways in which we might live together in a future of new vitality serving Jesus Christ?" (Read the bishop's letter)
As a next step, Bishop Elaine will appoint an area-wide Transformation Team to initiate a joint conversation about how Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain might embrace and serve God's future together.
In addition, prior to the Leadership Summit. the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and the Imagine Team also had discussions regarding the future directions of the conference in light of the recommendation of the Yellowstone Conference.