On Sunday, May 20, the Americus District of the South Georgia Annual Conference met to participate in holy conferencing. About 250 members of the district gathered at Cordele First United Methodist Church to share in a time of worship, business, and celebration of vital and vibrant ministries in the district. The District Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Moseley, shared with us an insight into the power and beauty of the yearly District conference. Moseley shared that the bishop described the district meeting is to the life of the district and the annual conference is the life of all the churches in south Georgia.
It is a time to celebrate and to acknowledge all that was done, both by the hand of God and by the diligent service of faithful Methodists.
Americus District Meets
As the meeting began, Dr. Moseley extolled those in attendance about the power and purpose of the connection. This was a wonderful reminder of how and why we are connected. As individual churches, there is so much that can be achieved and accomplished. What we as Methodists must remember is that together we can go even further than we ever dreamed possible. The district was encouraged to continue to make every effort to grow in connectional activities, not only strengthening the regional and global church but also strengthening the ties of the local church to the global ministry.
After the opening congregational hymn and exhortation by Dr. Moseley, the conference entered into the business meeting time. Reports on several areas were presented. Three-star pastors were recognized, with recognition being given for “Highest Net Gain in Membership,” “Largest Number of Professions of Faith,” and “Best Ratio of Professions of Faith” for 2011.
Some other acknowledgements were the Carruth Missions Awards, Evangelistically Fruitful Congregations, Fully Connectional Churches, and Four- and Five-Star Pastors.
District Officers were also elected following the recognition of the work of and in the district churches.
Dr. Moseley provided a reflection on the events of general conference discussing what had been done (or attempted), particularly on the issue of restructuring. Those in attendance were also given a preview of some interesting and significant issues that will be upcoming during South Georgia Annual Conference Meeting on June 3-5 in Macon, Georgia.
The highlight of the business meeting were the reports from several missions organizations within the district and of the annual conference that are impacted by the support and efforts of district
churches. Reports were given from the Georgia Southwestern Wesley Foundation, Magnolia Manor, The Methodist Home in Americus, Disaster Response, Hispanic Ministries, Dooly Campground’s Children & Youth Camp, United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women.
Bishop Exhorts the District: “GO, GROW, LOVE”
The meeting closed with Bishop James King preaching. This was a wonderful time. Bishop King reminded us that the key to success in anything, but particularly in the primary mission of the church requires focus. The church’s mission is to make disciples for the transformation of the world. This can only be done if we remain focused to building and strengthening the foundation of discipleship.
The foundation of discipleship is love. We were reminded of this important fact several times. There are hurting people all around us that have never felt love, let alone the love of God. We must remember, Bishop King reminded us, that Jesus said that the world will know we are his disciples by our love for one another.
Bishop King used Peyton Manning as an illustration that resonated with this youth pastor. The bishop recalled an interview with Manning about his trade from the Indianapolis Colts to the Denver Broncos. Manning was asked what he was looking forward to as a result of the trade and Manning’s response was that he could not wait to get his routine started. Bishop King encouraged us that, as the people of God, we must make every effort to develop holy habits because these are the practices that form us. This was a wonderful reminder.
The bishop closed his teaching time with two very important realities. The first was that without love discipleship is almost impossible. Therefore, we have to “Go, Grow, Love.” We go because that is what Jesus said to do. We go because we are the ones sent to find. We go because if we do not the world will never really come to Christ on their own. But, as we go, we have to also grow. Growth in love, holy habits and discipleship are the fuel that moves the train of God’s desire to see disciples made. But, as we go, and as we grow, we must also love. Our love for one another and our love for those whom God loves as well remind us of how important our mission truly is.
The second reality was that we have to “come into agreement about making disciples,” said Bishop King. As a global connection we have to make up our minds that making disciples will be our focus. Our bishop’s heart with regard to this was evident as he closed his message.
As a youth pastor in the Americus District and as a member of the South Georgia Annual Conference I am glad to have Bishop James King providing leadership to us to go into the world and make disciples for the transformation of the world.
Thank you Bishop King and Dr. Moseley for all that you do to lead our churches toward accomplishing God’s work in South Georgia.