Augusta District

 

The East Georgia Circuit Rider (The Augusta District Newsletter)

7-4-18

 

1.  Coming Events

 

July 16-19 - GEORGIA PASTORS SCHOOL – Inside Out Church – Engaging Your Community in Mission is scheduled for July 16 – 19, 2018 at Epworth By The Sea.  Speakers include: George Howard, Russell Pierce, Amy Valdez-Barker, Rodrigo Cruz, Jorge Lockwood, Doug Powell, Donna Claycomb Sokol, and Bishops Bryan and Haupert-Johnson. This is a great event for connection and family. Go to the link to register:  http://www.georgiapastorsschool.org/registration/registration-category

 

August 13 - dCOM members training, Athens First UMC

 

August 20 - 10am -Set-Up Meeting, Thomson First UMC, followed by lunch and a welcome to our new pastors.

 

Aug 24-25 - Conference UMM Retreat, John’s Creek UMC

 

September 10 – 9am-5pm, District Retreat, Dr. Kevin Watson

 

September 17 - dCOM meeting – 9am-1pm, Thomson First UMC

 

December 13 – 6pm - Christmas Party/Dinner at Greensboro First UMC

December 14 – 6pm – Christmas Party/Dinner at Wesley UMC

Each pastor and spouse can choose which event to attend, but the notion is to prevent anyone driving four hours to celebrate the season!

 

2.  2018 United Methodist Children's Home Amazing Grace Offering

 

Then. Now. Always.

 

Each year, churches across the North Georgia Conference participate in the Amazing Grace Offering.  This is an important day in the life of the church as we give and pray on behalf of the 15,000 children who are in state custody. The Amazing Grace Offering is one of the many ways that churches can be engaged in the important mission of restoring children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.

 It is time again to start planning for the Amazing Grace Offering.  Be on the lookout for your Amazing Grace materials, which will be shipped to you soon. Most churches participate in the offering on the third Sunday in September, but churches are invited to participate in the offering on any date that works best with their worship calendar. 

 

Your United Methodist Children’s Home Church Relations team wants to hear from you!  We love hearing your success stories, ideas, and questions.  Let us know when your church plans to participate in the offering.  You can also let us know if you are interested in having a UMCH representative come to your church on the day of the offering. Stay in touch by contacting your regional Church Engagement Manager or email churchrelations@umchildrenshome.org  Thanks for your support!

 

3.  Charge Conferences - Changes are coming! 

 

This year all the districts are moving toward “Connection Group Worship and Charge Conferences” together.  If there is a pressing need to have a single church charge conference, let me know and we will schedule those separately.  Perhaps you know of conflict or challenges or particular issues that might need time and space for more dialogue.  Other than that, we will gather in one of the larger churches in your connection for worship and prayer and voting. 

 

There will also be changes regarding the FORMS needed for charge conference.  Can I get an “Amen?”  Across North Georgia, there is a “simplify” movement afoot.  By the time we gather for our set-up meeting in August you will receive the actual list of documents required.  It will be NECESSARY for your administrative board/council to have taken action on the leadership list from nominations and the pastor’s proposed salary BEFORE we meet to take a vote at charge conference. 

 

4.  From The DS

 

Pathway to Renewal is a book similar in many ways to Canoeing the Mountains.  See if any of you (or your churches) resonate with these passages:

 

In each case, the declining local church provides an accurate historical snapshot of the people who lived in the neighborhood thirty years ago and what they valued. Over and over we hear congregations wishing that the people in the community would become active in their church. What drives that desire is revealed in their response to the question “Why?” Any time a significant number of people answer, “To keep our programs running and our doors open,” we know that the congregation is in trouble. It has moved to the point at which the people beyond its doors are valued primarily for what they can bring to the church. People in the community are seen as the congregation’s salvation, rather than the other way around.

 

The real and deeper issue is that the congregation has lost connection with a Christian church’s basic mission: helping people experience God and connect with the gospel message of life and hope.

 

The member’s strongest desire is to feel comfortable in the church. When challenges or new situations arise, people view them as problems to be solved so that the church can get back to normal, rather than as opportunities to move in a new direction. They feel most comfortable replicating what’s been done before. Though this way of doing things saves a great deal of time and effort, it lacks the energy that comes from creating something new. In a declining church, leaders strive to keep the congregation happy rather than to lead members in faithful living.

 

The result is a self-absorbed, inward-focused congregation. In crass terms, it’s as if the employees of McDonald’s came to work each day and focused all their energy on feeding each other. They go home feeling successful; they know they’ve worked hard, that they’ve fed one another and fed themselves. A business can’t get away with that for long, but a church can survive in that mode for as long as the money holds out.

 

Once the money runs low, the congregation generally grows more open to trying any strategy that promises to fix the church. When the fixes don’t work, frustration rises, blaming increases, relationships deteriorate, and the slide escalates until finally the congregation arrives at the point of crisis and confusion.

 

The congregation finally faces an unavoidable decision: “Are we going to have to close our doors?” Some congregations, sensing that their work is done, choose to close while they still have some control over the process. Others, either unsure of what to do or afraid or unwilling to do what it takes, choose to do nothing. They continue on the path of decline until their resources are gone and they’re forced to close. And some congregations, sensing that God still has work for them, give themselves up to the process of renewal.

 

Renewal.  Do you sense what that might mean?

 

God wants to wake us up and lead us out into the world to witness and love and pray and serve.  It is not about us!  Our glory, our comfort, our location, our buildings, the way we have always done things – these things do not matter a whit in God’s kingdom plans.  In Acts, the early church had a case of “headquarters fever.”  They were content staying put in Jerusalem.  That was where they had received the Spirit.  That was where the Temple was (for a few more years, at least).  They had gotten accustomed to their routine.  Somehow they had forgotten that part of the plan where Jesus laid out the mission on the map – Jerusalem, yes, but THEN Judea, THEN Samaria, THEN the uttermost ends of the earth.  Years went by and they would not budge off the dime.  Finally, persecution broke out (Acts 8:1) and they were FORCED out of town (although notice the leaders STILL would not budge!).  Whether or not God caused this event or merely used it, the people of Christ were compelled to a new way of doing things.    

 

People of God, wake up and pray up and reach out!  We need to pray, NOT, “Lord, give us new members on the roll,” or “Lord, provide us with funds for the building,” or “Lord, keep us safe and cozy,” but…”Lord, raise up laborers for the harvest.  And Lord, use us.”  Amen.

 

Yours for the Kingdom,

 

Terry Fleming

Augusta District Superintendent

PO Box 204600
Augusta, GA  30907

Office:  706-651-8621

Fax:  706-651-8622

Cell:  678-447-6034

 

"Jesus is not coming back for the buildings." - Anon.

 

 

District Superintendent


Terry Fleming
(706) 651-8621
terry.fleming@ngumc.net
View Bio

Administrative Assistant

Tina Lancaster
(706) 651-8621
agst@ngumc.net

Contact Information

Office Address:
3332 West Cliffe Court
Augusta, GA 30907

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 204600
Augusta, GA 30917

(706) 651-8621 Phone
(706) 651-8622 Fax

agst@ngumc.net
http://www.ngumc.org/agst