GOOD MORNING! Next week we gather for our Annual Conference in Portland, November 15-17. Last year we were online, but we get to gather in person this year – I can hardly wait.
The theme of the Conference is “Real Church.” COVID has caused us to step back and reevaluate what church is all about. We’ll be digging deeper on this as we learn together.
I apologize that this blog feels more “in-house,” but you are welcome to eavesdrop. Here are a few things we can do to get ready for Annual Conference.
- Be Praying. Before we spend time with each other, we need to spend time with God. Prayer is essential. Jesus was clear that without Him, we can do nothing. Pray for God’s manifest presence as we meet. Ask Him to work deeply in our hearts. We need unity and wisdom as we make decisions. Here are a few verses to help us pray: Ephesians 1:15-19; Philippians 1:9-11 and Colossians 1:9-12.
- Come Prepared. Every local church is represented at Annual Conference by the Pastors and Lay members. If you are attending, you should have received a “Conference packet” via email. Read through the information and even plan to meet as Pastor and Lay Member to talk about the Annual Conference.
- Assume COVID protocols. With COVID cases declining, we believe it is safe to meet together. However, we will be following the Oregon mandates. Plan to wear a mask. Also, please be sensitive regarding social distancing. Not everyone is comfortable with handshakes and hugs.
- Embrace change. By change, I mean growth. Have a positive and open mind to learn something new. We will be addressing several issues, including doing church differently to reach an ever-changing world and the importance of women in our movement. Just a comment about the proposed changes in our Discipline, the changes are not about women in leadership. They are already gifted and lead. However, the challenge is how that is expressed and empowered in our current structures.
- Watch our words. As we discuss and share, we all need to be aware of how we come across. I’m reminded of Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Let’s make sure our words build up and not tear down.
BEFORE YOU GO…
Remember, 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.
Look forward to seeing you soon!