LAGR Special Events and News


"Back to our Buildings" Resources

Pastors, as we prepare to go back to our buildings for worship, we submit the following resources. Please begin these conversations with your leaders.

This article provides a thoughtful checklist that every church should consider before re-opening the doors:


We should ALL shift our mindset now from the idea of "going back to normal" to "ReLaunching". This can be a moment of great increase if we use what we learned during this time of sheltering for a true ReLaunch of our churches--with an eye toward doing only what is effective and reaching people for Christ. This tool, created by UMC Discipleship Ministries, provides guided sessions with your leadership, including helpful videos and a study guide. Please check it out.

Annual Conference Information

The agenda for the 2020 Annual Conference has been revised so that the meeting will only be 2 days – August 28-29.  Please see details and the new agenda here:  Don’t forget that if your lay delegate changes, you need to update the information in Data Services (under Charge Conference tab).

 A Question:  Who Pays for Clergy Expenses?  The church where the pastor is appointed in August should pay for the cost of attending Annual Conference.  This means that if your church receives a new pastor July 1, you will pay the expenses of your new pastor; however, if your church receives a new pastor September 1, you will pay the expenses of your current pastor.  For pastors who will be retiring 6/30/20, you may apply for expense reimbursement from the Conference, through the Office of Clergy Excellence.  Check with Denise Wilson for details (


For Pastors, From the Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU:
Preaching to an Empty Room,” reminds us that we never preach without the company of God, the communion of saints, and the company of preachers around the world.

Preaching What You Practice” underscores the importance of spiritual preparation throughout the week for preaching and leading worship online.

There are also four brief videos in the “What’s a Preacher to Do?” series in which Dr. O. Wesley Allen and Alyce M. McKenzie interview scholars from various disciplines for their wisdom for preachers in this difficult season.


From UM Communications:

There is no better time than now to enroll in the Digital Media for Ministry online training course. This in-depth guide unpacks the most effective ways to communicate using technology that people in your church and community already use. You’ll explore podcasts, videos, blogs, social media and email newsletters.

Enroll now



Need help with digital ministry during this pandemic? Live chat with the Local Church Services team at UM Communications or call them at 888-346-3862, Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CDT.


Online CEU Opportunities From

   (Use the coupon code UMC to receive a 20 percent discount, making the cost of each class $20. )

April 29, 2020 - Olu Brown: Growing a Church by Becoming Part of the Community

May 5, 2020 - Kevin Slimp: Developing Effective Communication to Grow Your Congregation

May 6, 2020 - Phil Maynard: Getting Your Congregation Back Into the Game of Effective Ministry

Register at:




As churches explore more digital ministry options, GCFA has developed some guidance on reporting and counting the number of viewers of your online worship and Bible study attendance.




Lower Tech Ways to Host Sunday School or Small Groups

(Adapted from the 4/13/20 UMCOM Newsletter, Article by Rev. Jeremy Steele)

While there are many options available for video meetings (Zoom, WebX, etc.), if you have people who don’t have access to camera-enabled devices, reliable high-speed internet, or who aren’t comfortable with technology, consider some other options such as Facebook Groups.  Below are some suggestions:

  • Plan for a slow launch – Use the first meeting to give a brief tutorial on the chosen platform’s features.  Remind people to keep their devices fully charged.  Teach them to use provided links.
  • Mute! – Make sure everyone know how to mute/unmute their device’s microphone in order to keep background noise/distractions to a minimum.
  • Keep discussions structured – ask questions that invite single, brief responses to avoid chaos.
  • Try a recorded video and text chat – Post a recorded message to Facebook and invite participants to watch and then login at a specific time to chat through Facebook Messenger.
  • Have a conference call – There are various options that can use landline or cell phones for conference calls with no video.


Believing in the power of relationships is part of our DNA as United Methodists. Whether you recover the practice of making phone calls or log into your first small group video chat, the key is to keep caring for each other through this season of uncertainty.


Lay Servant Class InformationRegistration is open for the spring session for online courses.  The course offered is Leading Public Prayer May 4- June 8. The cost of the course is $62.00 and this fee does not include books. Kay Haugen is the instructor.  Individuals are responsible for purchasing their own books.  Deadline for registration is
May 4. Registration link: Lay Servant Ministries Online Course Registration