By Sybil Davidson
Bob Farr, author of the book "Renovate or Die: 10 Ways to Focus Your Church on Mission," spent several days with North Georgia clergy and laity giving practical tips on reaching their communities.
Farr was keynote speaker for more than 550 clergy and laity, who attended the Atlanta-Emory/Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford district training at Snellville UMC. He then led a two-day retreat for AMRY District clergy. Later in the week, Farr spent a day with the 2013 START (Strategic Appointment Roundtable) class.
For Terri Hoye, minister of evangelism and administration at Norcross First UMC, Farr’s message was an affirmation of some of the work the church is already doing and also a challenge to take it further.
"I think the thread throughout the entire weekend -- beginning with our district training through the clergy retreat -- was that we need to be out in our communities," Hoye said.
There were several takeaways for Hoye:
1). When you do right by the mission field – the mission field will do right by you;
2). If you are not willing to break from the friends you know, so that you can make new friends, the kingdom is not going to grow;
3). As pastors we should commit to a minimum of five hours a week being out in our communities meeting people.
Jimmy Moor, pastor of Tucker First UMC, says he has already begun sharing with church leadership what he gleaned at the clergy retreat at Simpsonwood.
"Some of the main items that stood out for me were the need to be aware of the many ways the world has changed in the last 10 to 15 years,” Moor said. “It's a different world for ministry. Also, the need to be clear about your process for helping people become authentic followers of Jesus Christ."
Farr serves as director of the Center for Congregational Excellence in the Missouri Annual Conference.
He pioneered The Healthy Church Initiative, a consultation process that analyzes local churches and develops a prescription for transformation. This process has been adopted by a dozen United Methodist conferences in addition to the Missouri Conference.
For more on his book, read reviews from The Lewis Center for Church Leadership or Ministry Matters.