MAHONING VALLEY DISTRICT
What’s Going On and Why
“What’s your vision for the district?” “What’s your plan for us?” It really surprised me that at this time last year, when my time as DS was most properly measured in weeks, that people expected me to have a very clear and specific roadmap for a place I’d never lived. Generally, my vision was to foster healthy churches well-equipped to make new disciples, but I would have
been suspicious of anyone in my position who felt they already knew how to do that without getting to know the churches, the people, and the area. After a year of listening and learning, I’m pleased to share the following plans for the upcoming year to foster healthier churches better equipped to make disciples who will transform the world.
Reaching New People—Fri. Sept. 28 and Sat. Sept. 29 at Boardman UMC. Over and over I heard, “we need to connect with younger people”, “we need to connect with our community”, and/or “we have a lot of faithful saints coming but we aren’t bringing in enough new people to replace those who are dying.” Reaching New People has been proven effective in other districts in our conference, so I am committing significant district resources to making it extremely affordable! If you have not registered yet, contact Kathy in the district office by September 7!
Fall Clergy Gathering: The Vision that Fuels the Journey—Thurs. Oct. 18 at Ohltown UMC. Common refrains among clergy
are: “they don’t teach this in seminary!” and “this isn’t why I became a pastor!” Sometimes in the day to day of ministry we lose sight of why we did say “yes” to God’s call. It’s also vital to remain connected to that call during uncertain and anxious times, which 2019 is guaranteed to be! (Lord, have mercy!) Our fall clergy gathering will focus on rekindling that call. Clergy should begin thinking about which Scripture passage most speaks to their call.
Charge Conferences: Rule of Christ—all charge conferences. How do Christians handle disagreements, hurt feelings, and other forms of conflict within the church? Hint: It’s neither parking lot meetings nor anonymous letters to the DS! Jesus gave us guidelines and Bishop Malone has introduced a process called the Rule of Christ based on those. All of the charge conferences will include an overview. Those who have already had the training in their churches will have a breakout session to trade ideas about implementation. Our goal is to have follow up individual church training for implementation in all district churches by 2020.
Intercultural Developmental Inventory—Mon. Nov. 19 at Poland UMC. How well do we relate to people of other cultures on
mission trips? In our own communities? Do we even realize there are different cultures within our own communities? Do we know how our viewpoint is shaped by our own culture? These are questions clergy need to explore to serve in today’s increasingly diverse world. Multicultural Vitality Director Will Jones will lead discussion following the completion of the Intercultural Developmental Inventory. Clergy MUST register in advance in order to take the assessment by emailing the DS. If you have a dream of a multicultural church, reaching a different population in your community, or wanting to grow in your own awareness, or just can’t figure out why your church does what it does, this is for you!
Financial Tune Up—spring district conference—Sat. April 6. The Mahoning Valley remains economically challenging. While
there are many external factors we can’t control, there are a number of financial practices we could embrace to help fund the gospel work God has given us to do. In addition to a keynote, attendees will be able to choose among several very practical workshops with immediate applications.
Still to come: lay pastoral care team training. I know I told a number of folks we’d develop a training for lay pastoral care
visitation teams sometime this year. I have to confess I was overwhelmed by the learning of the first year and the volume
of appointments this spring (more than double the previous year!). I’ll work on a plan because I have identified this as a crucial need as most of our churches have aging membership. Caring for each other is part of how the church expresses the love of Christ within our membership. Looking forward to continuing to learn and grow with you for the sake of sharing Christ’s love with the Valley,
The Mahoning Valley District Office:
Rev. Abby Auman
4580 Canfield Rd, PO Box 11260 Youngstown OH 44511
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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