Last fall the Missouri Conference kicked-off an action plan for tackling three big goals in the areas of New Places for New People, Missional Leaders and Pathway Out of Poverty. On January 29 Conference leaders celebrated the progress Missouri Conference churches are making toward achieving these goals.
Congregational Excellence Director Roger Ross explained how New Places for New People, or NPNP, is based around the idea that we need to multiply the kingdom. He shared big stories, like The Light in Joplin working to have a Connector group in all 70 neighborhoods in the city, and the new Westside site at Kearney baptizing eight people in a school gymnasium with 240 people in attendance. He also shared stories of NPNP happening on a smaller scale, like the Freedom Judo and Jujitsu group at Wanda UMC with 20 participants (from a church with 30 in worship) and the new youth group at Princeton/Mercer that has four youth participating.
“Thank you for being willing to start new places for new people,” Ross said. Learn more about New Places for New People at www.moumethodist.org/newplacesfornewpeople.
Director of Leadership Excellence Karen Hayden spoke about the efforts across to Conference to find, encourage and develop new missional leaders. The 5 Cups of Coffee curriculum has gained momentum across the Conference. Hayden defined how a missional leader is not only a leader but is also someone who is being mentored by a leader, and beginning to mentor a new leader.
Hayden encouraged everyone in the Conference to report new missional leaders in their church at www.moumethodist.org/missionalleaders.
“We want to be able to connect with people who name new missional leaders so that we can provide you with resources,” Hayden said. “New missional leaders are foundational for the life of the church.”
Director of Mission, Service and Justice Ministries Tina Harris spoke about Pathway Out of Poverty, but started by saying how impressed she is with progress from the other areas.
“When I hear these stories about everything going on around the Conference, I say, ‘Thank you Jesus. God is up to something’,” Harris said.
By June 30 this year Harris’ team is working to increase the percentage of churches that partner with local schools from 10 percent to 40 percent. The key resource for this endeavor is the book by Jake McGlothin entitled The Mission-Minded Guide to Church and School Partnerships.
“We’re the church – but the end result of this isn’t to have more church members,” Harris said. “The end goal is to be the church and make an impact on the community.”
Harris encouraged people to use the resources on the Conference website at www.moumethodist.org/pathwayoutofpoverty.
Conference Lay Leader Amy Thompson closed the celebration by commenting on how exciting it is to be part of a organization that is on the right track.
“It is amazing to be part of a Conference that is truly living into the mission to be relentlessly leading our churches to be outwardly focused and spiritually centered Christ followers,” Thompson said.