For three electrifying days this past week, over 100 clergy and laity across the Western Jurisdiction gathered at Glendale First United Methodist Church (Glendale, CA) for Transforming Ministries 4 (#tm4).
Transforming Ministries is an initiative that began three years ago from the Pacific Northwest Conference with the purpose of leadership development in the Western Jurisdiction for ministries that are deeply transformational.
On day one of #tm4, Bishop Grant Hagiya’s (Greater Northwest Area) opening presentation shared the concepts of “acting into a new way of thinking” over “thinking into a new way of acting” and that of “creative minorities” who are able to overcome the momentum of decline from positions along the margins.
Following were heart-to-heart, TEDx-like conversations with every bishop from the Western Jurisdiction. The topics included the future of the church, how it feels to be in the hot seat at times, and on looking forward to General Conference 2016. As one of the rare opportunities to hear from all bishops of the jurisdiction at one time, the sessions offered participants invaluable lessons on, and insight into, transformational leadership with the mind, heart, and hands.
On the second day, participants were transported to DreamWorks Studios (Glendale, CA) where dynamic talks were given by Shawn Dennis (Head of Brand Development), Tim Johnson (Director of the DreamWorks’ film “Home”), and Rev. Steve Horswill-Johnston (Executive Director of Communications, Discipleship Ministries). Participants learned about the detailed characteristics of a potential audience, the intricacies of storytelling through filmmaking, and the implications of all these things for ministry.
On the final day, participants were given the chance to pitch their potential ministry project for $1,000 micro-grants. The ministry project ideas had to demonstrate the potential for transformational leadership in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Clergy and laity made passionate pitches for projects including “Beer & Hymns,” “Queer Prom,” and “Laundromat Community.” These grants were awarded funding of $1,000 and coaching to assist project leaders in achieving success. Additional projects are eligible for funding through each Conference, the contact person being the Conference New Ministries Development staff person.
Throughout the Conference were heartwarming worship services led and designed by Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank (Desert Southwest Conference) and Rev. Laura R Jaquith Bartlett (Oregon-Idaho Conference). The theme of the services was that of dreaming, being called by God towards a seemingly uncertain direction. Preachers shared with the participants personal stories and reflections in light of scripture on dreams.
All in all, Transforming Ministries 4 was another example of the Western Jurisdiction leading in radical hospitality in offering Christ, inviting discipleship, and transforming the world. Look out for Transforming Ministries 5 coming soon!
Photo Credit: Patrick Scriven, Pacific-Northwest Director of Communications (Flickr)