March 17, 2015

This year’s Missouri Annual Conference theme is Discipleship: Growing in Grace. It will be an opportunity for clergy and lay members of the Conference to engage in meaningful and intentional faith development - which refers to purposeful learning in a Christian community in order to grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of God.

As the Sessions Committee began to plan for this significant learning time, we realized that this fruitful experience comes as the Conference will be making several significant decisions that include (but are not limited to) the election of General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates and discernment concerning the direction of the Conference Camping program in the future.

In light of the importance of deepening the spiritual life of local church leaders and inviting the Annual Conference to be a part of Holy Conferencing, the Sessions committee determined that it would be helpful for all the members attending this year’s Annual Conference to have a devotional resource as part of their preparation for Annual Conference. This resource would offer delegates a time for reflection, silence, practical and spiritual disciplines, and a guide for being in the position to hear and follow God’s lead in the decisions at the 2015 Missouri Annual Conference.

The resource that will be provided is Listen: Praying in a Noisy World, by Reuben Job. This invaluable spiritual resource invites Conference leaders to a 40-day journey of praying and listening to God in the midst of a noisy, distracting and complicated world. The desire to listen is indeed a reflection of our desire for this year’s Annual Conference to be a time of preparing our inner heart, mind and soul to reflect our love of God and our neighbors instead of listening to competing voices and making quick decisions that could draw us away from our core values and mission of the church. It is the hope of the Sessions Team and Missouri Annual Conference that delegates and local churches may use this resource prior to and after Annual Conference. Positioning is critical to growth in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

The gentle breath of the Holy Spirit is always touching us, but it is our responsibility to position ourselves in ways that make it possible to receive the gifts that God waits to bestow upon us. We believe that our being about the intentional practice of prayer and holy conferencing will empower this Conference to be a listening/learning/ loving community. In the months to come we are all called to the practice of grace in preparation for Annual Conference. Stay tuned for more practical information, resources and opportunities, which will be provided through this publication and through ACInfo.