Many pastors and churches have wondered about the value of belonging to a Conference of churches (and our Denomination). Before anyone becomes defensive, that’s a legitimate and important question. Why should we be together?
This is not just a newbie concern. During my time as Superintendent, two of our oldest congregations have taken votes to stay or leave, and a few more have considered it. Fortunately, they saw the need to belong and have chosen to stay. I write that to say that we need to show our value and the importance of being together as a conference.
So why belong? Here are three reasons.
- We are a family. First, as a group of churches, we have a wonderful heritage together – not only in our theology but in our relationships. Sometimes we are tempted to ask what are we getting out of the Conference? That’s a transactional question. We need to ask relational questions like “How are we getting along?” “How can we encourage one another?” As a family, it’s not what we get but what we give that makes it valuable.
- We are a network. We serve as a source of leadership and support. We provide a leadership pipeline through our School of Ministry (PESM) and other training opportunities such as Launchable Leaders, Turnaround Churches, and our coaching ministry. Over the past years, the Conference has given our local churches hundreds of thousands of grant monies. Together we form a group of churches that learn from and support each other.
- We are a covering. Accountability is essential for all of us. That’s true of pastors and local churches… As Superintendent, I’ve been involved in several church challenges and without the Conference, I’m convinced the outcome would have been disastrous. When things start to fall apart, having a Conference to come alongside to help is invaluable. Often we don’t know we need something until we need it!
BEFORE YOU GO…
What other reasons would you add? I’d love to hear from you!
By the way, our Annual Conference is just around the corner. This is one way that we deepen our connection with one another, strengthen our network, and reinforce our covering. We plan to gather in Clackams as a Conference of churches November 15th-17th at Valley View Church.
Also, everyone is invited to the Pre-Conference Prayer Meeting online. This is open to all of our churches. What better way is there to strengthen our family ties and begin Annual Conference than with intentional corporate prayer? Please email Nancy for the link.
Please continue to pray for Annual Conference and each local church. It’s His church and we want to be used by Him to build His kingdom! Amen!