Five Areas of Focus

5 Values, 5 Areas of Focus: Countless Possibilities
The North Georgia Conference has claimed our core values and named five areas of transformational disciple-making that are most essential to our mission between now and Annual Conference 2024. 


As United Methodist Christians in North Georgia, we value:

We will walk with integrity in Christ and build trust with each other through transparency, honesty, and accountability. As commanded in Jesus’ sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:37, our yes will be yes and our no will be no. 

With courage, we will innovate and adapt, repent and repair, and live out our historic faith as a prophetic witness. When we risk failure or threat for the sake of the Gospel, we will not fear. For Christ has conquered the world. So be at peace, and take good courage. (John 16:33)

Christ welcomes All to the Table. Therefore, so we will. We will remove our prejudicial blinders & barriers, and see each other through the eyes of baptism (Gal 3:28).  We will celebrate the beauty of our diversity: for we are the body of Christ, and each one of us is a part of it (1 Cor 12). 

As Wesleyan Christians, we will live and love as one church in limitless missional expressions. As Jesus himself prayed on our behalf in John chapter 17, verses 22-23, our oneness will be our witness. 

Drawing from Paul’s words in Romans chapter 12 - that we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds and by devoting ourselves to the difficult, holy work of living as Christ’s church -  we will seek God’s preferred future for our neighbor as for ourselves. Sanctify us, O God. Perfect us in Your love.

5 Areas of Focus

In the North Georgia Conference, we want to Be Disciples Who Make Disciples devoted to these 5 areas of focus:

#1 Scriptural Literacy and Imagination
Our ability to experience the Word, Christ, through the pages of Christian scripture is at the very center of our United Methodist practice of faith. Scriptural literacy, the ability to access the Bible’s stories, narratives, poetry, fables, parables, history, prophecy, and exposition, is an essential part of our work to both be disciples and to make disciples.

#2 Health and Wellbeing
These next few years, we commit to helping increase access to mental health support, increasing conversation around wellbeing, and helping communities move toward flourishing. Wellbeing is both individual and communal. We need healthy pastors to lead congregations. We need healthy congregations to nurture discipleship. We need healthy discipleship to lead to transformation of communities. And we need to recognize that serious disparity and stigma exists in access to these resources.

#3 Community Engagement
United Methodist Christians proclaim the good news of God's grace and exemplify Jesus's command to love God and love neighbor. We believe that Christ will help us become disciples who make disciples by engaging with our communities.

#4 Racial Justice and Healing
The ultimate goal for anti-racism for the Christian must be community. This is why Dr. King taught about the Beloved Community. The beloved community does not allow injustice to remain. It pursues justice to correct the wrongs and also seeks to heal the wounds caused by the injustice. When community is the goal, the means used to achieve justice matter. The methods used must not prevent healing from being possible. This is why this focus area is called Racial Justice and Healing. Racial Justice and Healing is the pathway to Beloved Community.

#5 New Faith Opportunities and Communities
We have experienced rapid changes in our culture in the last few years. We have all witnessed the staggering effects of isolation on the mental health and well-being. People are seeking community and meaningful connection. Yet more than 60% of our neighbors do not have a connection to a vibrant faith community. The North Georgia Conference addressing this need and hunger by intentionally cultivating new faith communities for the purpose of moving people into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. 


East Cobb UMC Hosts Time of Prayer & Action in Support of Jewish Neighbors
Rev. Kristin Lee welcomes the Cobb County faith community to a time of Prayer & Action East Cobb UMC in Marietta hosted people of faith from across their community to support Jewish neighbors following a hateful demonstration in front of an East Cobb synagogue during services Saturday. Participants in the Time of Prayer and Action on Wednesday, June 28, filled the East Cobb UMC sanctuary to overflowing. Organized by Rev. Kristin Lee of East Cobb UMC, Mechel McKinley-Hoffman of Marietta First ...
Summer Service: Dallas First UMC Hosts River of Life Mission Week
Each summer Dallas First UMC hosts a five-day "River of Life" mission event. During River of Life, youth and adults serve as the hands and feet of Christ in the Paulding County community by providing home repairs and fellowship to those in need. This year's participants came from Dallas First UMC, Wesley Way UMC, McEachern UMC, and Hopewell UMC. Bishop Robin Dease and Central West Superintendent Rev. Dr. Jessica Terrell joined for a day and helped construct a wheelchair ramp for a local family....
North Georgia Conference Offers Special Promotion with Amplify Media
Discount Available Through June 30 The North Georgia Conference is pleased to announce a partnership with Amplify Media to provide United Methodist churches in our Conference with access to the streaming service at a deeply discounted rate. The discount can be activated through June 30.  Amplify is an online resource for church‐wide, group, or individual study, worship, and devotional material. Access anytime, anywhere, on any device – all with one subscription for your entire congregation. ...
Celebrating 2023 Denman Evangelism Award Winners
Each year our Annual Conference has the honor of selecting three individuals to receive the Denman Evangelism Award.  The award honors a United Methodist clergy, lay person, and youth in every annual conference who consistently introduces others to the Good News of Jesus Christ. The award is named for the late Harry Denman, a lay person whose passion was helping others to know Jesus.   This year, the following disciple-makers in the North Georgia Conference received the award: 2023 Denman ...
Gainesville First UMC Hosts Blessing of the Boats
On Sunday, May 28, Gainesville First UMC hosted a Blessing of the Boats service at their 8:30 a.m. Lakeside Worship. The boating community on Lake Lanier was invited to bring their boats to the Gainesville First UMC boat dock, and a prayer was offered along with a gift of a floating key chain. The church plans to make this an annual tradition to kick off the lake season.   Gainesville First's Lakeside Worship is held every Sunday (weather permitting) at 8:30 am from May through October on the...
Aldersgate UMC Awarded Foundation for Evangelism Grant for Single Parent Ministry
Aldersgate UMC in Augusta is reaching out with hope and support for single parents in its community. The congregation was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the Foundation for Evangelism, recognizing their efforts in establishing a Single Parent Ministry. With this generous support, Aldersgate UMC is poised to create a nurturing environment where single parents and their families can find community, encouragement, and practical assistance. These ministry efforts will support those who are ...
"They Refused to Let Me In..." Rev. Dr. Paul Easley // North Georgia Reparations Task Force
Hear the story of one of our Black pastors who was refused entry into worship at a White church in North Georgia around 1960 and how the church sought to begin to heal the hurt in 2018. Long-form Video Shorter Trailer Video Podcast Format The Reparations Task Force has created a series of videos highlighting historical stories about racism and how the Conference has moved in the past to begin the work. Now is time to continue that work until racial healing is realized in our Conference.  
Glisson 1962 Race Relations Retreat // North Georgia Reparations Task Force
Hear the story of how Camp Glisson, youth, young adults, and other Conference leaders courageously led an interracial overnight gathering that may have been the first time in Georgia. Courage like this is what we still need today to heal the hurts that remain among us. Long-form Video Shorter Trailer Video Podcast Format The Reparations Task Force has created a series of videos highlighting historical stories about racism and how the Conference has moved in the past to begin the work. Now ...
Native Americans and the North Georgia Conference // North Georgia Reparations Task Force
The Reparations Task Force has created a series of videos highlighting historical stories about racism and how the Conference has moved in the past to begin the work. Now is time to continue that work until racial healing is realized in our Conference. In this short video, hear how Native's were removed from north Georgia and how the Conference benefitted.    Long-form Video Shorter Trailer Video Podcast Format  
Academy for Leadership & Innovation Celebrates Graduation
On Tuesday the 2022-2023 North Georgia Academy for Leadership & Innovation celebrated the conclusion of nine months of learning and growing together. The graduation was hosted by Gainesville First UMC. Rev. Blair Boyd Zant brought words of encouragement and commendation to the group and they were sent forth by Bishop James Swanson with a charge to see, invite, and include the forgotten, the lonely and the hurting among us who need the love of Christ.  "Bishop James Swanson preached a powerful ...
Native American Ministries Holds Annual Gathering at Pine Log UMC
On April 29, the North Georgia Committee on Native American Ministries hosted its annual Native American Gathering at the Pine Log UMC Campground. This year’s guest speaker was Rev Larry Jent, pastor at Grace Hartwood UMC in Hartwood, Virginia. Rev. Jent is a teacher, musician, storyteller, and Native American advocate.  The event included a message from recipients of the North Georgia United Methodist Native American Scholarship. This year's recipients were Samantha Kent who is graduating ...
Church Bells to School Bells: Clergy Substitute Teach in Their Community
By Sybil Davidson In recent years, school districts across the country have faced a shortage of substitute teachers. Recognizing their call to church and community, several North Georgia Conference clergy have responded by serving as "subs" in their local schools—exchanging church bells for school bells as they're needed.  Clergy bring unique gifts and skillsets that make them well qualified for the role: a desire to serve the community, experience working with children and youth, safe ...
Reparations Task Force Continues Work and Study with Definitions, Framework, and Witness
Formed in response to thoughtful discussion at Annual Conference 2022, the Task Force will bring a report to the 2023 Annual Conference session By Latoya Damon   The Reparations Taskforce gathered on March 10 and 11 at Central UMC in Atlanta to continue their discussion on actionable steps toward restoring our beloved communities through racial healing and reconciliation. Curtis Paul DeYoung, a co-facilitator of the taskforce and the co-author of Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism ...
Disaster Response: Launching Long Term Recovery Effort Following January Tornadoes
PHOTO ALBUM United Methodists gathered in Griffin on March 31 for a celebration and a commitment. It was a day to honor the work of the churches, clergy, ERT (Early Response Teams), and our United Methodist connection in response to the communities struck by a band of tornadoes on January 12, 2023. The day ended with the launch of our long-term recovery effort. Griffin First UMC's clergy, Rev. John Mattox, Rev. Nelson Furtado, and Rev. Debby Stikes, led a tour of the local damage and of the ...
Our Top 5 Favorite Stories of 2022
You have been living out the mission of the church this year! Take a look at our top 5 favorite stories of North Georgia United Methodists in 2022!  Responding to Neighbors in Need The North Georgia Conference has been awarded a grant of $500k for Newnan Tornado Recovery from UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief). This is the largest grant our conference has ever received from UMCOR. The North Georgia Conference will use these funds to repair or fully rebuild the homes of three ...
5 Areas of Focus in Action
In June, the North Georgia Annual Conference officially adopted 5 Core Values and 5 Areas of Focus to guide us into transformational disciple-making between now and Annual Conference 2024. On the post-Conference survey, one or more areas resonated with nearly every person we heard from! Connect below with resources and inspiration from these values and focus areas. The Core Values As United Methodist Christians in North Georgia, we value: Integrity: We will walk with integrity in Christ and ...


Blair Zant
Director, Center for Congregational Excellence
(678) 533-1399
Brian Tillman
Director of Inclusion and Advocacy
(678) 533-1441
Richard Hunter
Associate Director of Congregational Excellence
(678) 533-1442
Scott Parrish
Missions Specialist
(678) 533-1374