Augusta District

 

Augusta District Newsletter, 2-1-18

1.  Please Register for these two events:

*Fresh Expressions Vision Day – March 3

Fresh Expressions Vision Days are one-day, interactive-learning experiences that inspire and equip individuals, church leaders and denominational executives to pioneer new ways to be the Church. At the Vision Day you will discover:

  •         How Fresh Expressions are renewing the church around the world
  •         What it means to be a Mission-Shaped Church
  •         Tools for starting Fresh Expressions in your area

God is using ordinary people to start fresh expressions of church all around the world. Learn how in this free ebook: http://freshexpressionsus.org/pioneerebook

Register your team today!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/augusta-vision-day-tickets-41098474644?aff=efbeventtix

*Clergy Day Apart

North Georgia Conference clergy are invited to a day apart with Bishop Sue. Choose between Tuesday, April 10, at Impact UMC or Tuesday, April 17 at Dunwoody UMC.

To prepare clergy should read and study two books:

·         The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict
Author: Arbinger Institute
Publisher: Ingram Publisher Services 

·         Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
Author: Ron McMillan, Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny
Publisher: McGraw Hill Book Co. 

Cost is $10 per person.

Register using one of these links:

Impact UMC April 10th  https://www.ngumc.org/eventdetail/clergy-day-apart-with-bishop-sue-10682317

Dunwoody UMC April 17th   https://www.ngumc.org/eventdetail/clergy-day-apart-with-bishop-sue-10682319

2.  Three NEW DATES for your calendar!

Foster Care Information Meeting, 2-13-18, Thomson First UMC, 6:30-8:30pm (see flyer)

The United Methodist Children’s Home is holding an information session for anyone who wants to learn more about becoming a foster parent or volunteering to serve foster parents. The session is at Thomson First UMC on February 13 at 6:30pm.  People can go to www.fosterrsvp.com to register.  There are some promotional graphics attached.  They may be used in church newsletters, bulletins, or as a slide on the screen in worship.  Share them with any church members who may be thinking about fostering.

The Augusta Area Foster Coalition will soon start sending out an email containing news and needs specific to the Augusta area.  If you would like to receive the Foster Coalition e-Newsletter, notify Lindsey Solomon- lsolomon@umchildrenshome.org

Emergency Response Team Training – 3-3-18, Trinity on the Hill UMC, 9am-5pm (see flyer)

Done in a Day Children’s Ministry training – 3-19-18, Wesley UMC 6:15-8:15pm (see flyer)

3.  Helpful resources online for clergy and their families:

http://www.gcsrw.org/Resources/ClergyResources.aspx

4.  From the DS

Bishop Sue has been asking the cabinet to envision what the Annual Conference will look like twenty years from now.  Here is my short list of what I hope our local churches will be like:

More amateurs, less professionals

More passion, less money

More collaboration, less isolation

More community, less buildings

More tools, less museums

More Kingdom, less chapels

More teams, less committees

More disciples, less members

More mission, less conflict

More conviction, less fear

More flexibility, less paperwork

More accountability, less rules

More of His Spirit, less of my ego

 

We have also been reading and thinking about discipleship systems for the local church.  On my desk right now I have these books:

Stride: Creating a Discipleship Pathway for your Church

Developing an Intentional Discipleship System

Charting a Course for Discipleship

I like systems and structures.  But this week the Holy Spirit planted me into Matthew 16, and reminded me of what we cannot systematize.

Jesus speaks here of the rock on which He will build his church, and the gates of hell will never overcome it.  This is one of only three times Jesus ever uses the word “Church” – ekklesia – in the gospels, and the promise of victory attached to it is stunning.  As a good Protestant, I subscribe to the theory that Peter was not, himself, the rock; but the true rock was his confession of faith that Jesus was the Son of God.

Romans 10  10 For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

This is the rock – our faith in Jesus, who is Himself the only foundation of the church. 

I see three intensely spiritual things going on in this encounter.

First, there was a personal confrontation between Jesus and the disciples.  “Who do you say I am?”  I was an adult before it hit me – Peter’s confession was not, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”  Instead, he said, “You are the Son of God.”  These may be the most important pronouns in the NT.  Not “him” but “you;” not third person, but second person; not a man writing an academic paper about an object of discussion, but one man talking directly to another.  This was me and you, not me and him. 

In Mere Christianity, Lewis writes:  “Put right out of your head the idea that these are only fancy ways of saying that Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out—as a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out. They mean something much more than that. They mean that a real Person, Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you….”

So in the church, we must defy every diversion to reduce this into a formula.  We cannot “invoke” God’s presence, as if God were not already here.  We have no “magic” to compel Him to appear.  We need to awaken ourselves to His presence, to attune our hearts to His knocking grace.  But only the real Jesus can initiate this confrontation. 

Second, there was personal revelation from God to Peter.  “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”  This was a spiritual issue, playing out in the spiritual realm…heaven comes to earth in a way we cannot measure or reduce to psychology or quantify in a test tube.  God the Father in heaven – wherever that is – has impacted the heart of one particular man in such a way that faith is produced.  We love our systems and structures and programs and budgets and buildings, and they are useful tools in themselves – but without the spiritual action of God moving in the human heart, they mean nothing.  Again, something happened here that was not reducible to a formula that we can package and use.  Thank God.  Remind us, oh God, that “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.”

Third, there was on Peter’s end a personal assent to a fact. 

You are the Son of God.  You are the King.  You are the Word through which creation was made.  You are the coming king and the judge of all the earth.  You are the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.  These things are eternal verities, absolute realities, hard facts.  These things were true before Peter believed them; and now that Peter begins to align himself with ultimate reality, he will find that this reality brings peace, comfort, and joy.

Dallas Willard, in The Divine Conspiracy, reminds us of the way Jesus saw reality:

Our world is “God bathed and God permeated. It is a world filled with a glorious reality, where every component is within the range of God’s direct knowledge and control – though God obviously permits some of it, for good reasons, to be for a while otherwise than as he wishes.  It is a world that is inconceivably beautiful and good because of God and because God is always in it. 

 

It is a world in which God is continually at play and over which he constantly rejoices….human beings can lose themselves in card games or electric trains and think they are fortunate.  But to God there are available towering clouds of gases trillions of miles high, backlit by nuclear fires in newly forming stars, galaxies cartwheeling into collision and sending explosive shock waves boiling through millions of light years of time and space. 

 

These things are all before him, along with numberless unfolding rosebuds, souls, and songs and immeasurably more of which we know nothing…with this magnificent God positioned among us, Jesus brings the assurance that our universe is a perfectly safe place to be.”

 

Do you believe in Jesus?  Have you told Him so, spirit to spirit?  Then rejoice and rest in Him!

 

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.

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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