Reports Related to Vital Congregations

Congregational Development and Transformation 

Discipleship Team 

Mission & Mercy Team 

Youth Ministries 

Board of Laity 

United Methodist Women 

United Methodist Men 

Communications

 


 

Congregational Development and Transformation 

Congregational Development and Transformation 

Like all of the churches in our Conference, 2019-2020 has been a year of adaptation for the Office of Congregational Development and Transformation. We continue to adjust as we seek to resource and support our existing churches and develop new churches throughout the Conference during this time of great change and challenge.

We had the privilege of working with 20+ existing churches and 6 new church plants of various models and in differing stages of church planting. With the Church Transformation Process, we have helped churches assess their current reality and discern plans for their preferred future. We have provided resources and accountability to help churches implement their plans for fruitfulness and effectiveness. This year, the Church Transformation Process began to focus more on churches worshipping under 100, while still continuing to help mid to larger size churches. New church start projects have developed exciting ways of faithfully engaging their mission fields and several of them have launched this year. There are also new church plants in the pipeline that will get started soon. Our office has also hosted a workshop with the Black Church Vitality Taskforce to help our African-American churches experience increased growth and vitality and we continue to further develop resources to support the ministry of these congregations. Finally, our work continues to expand as we have launched a new initiative to resource our churches to reach more new people for Jesus Christ. This initiative, called NP2 (New Places for New People), will help existing churches create unique, fresh ways to reach people who might not engage within a conventional church setting. It is our desire to continue to innovate, offer resources, and come alongside our local churches and districts to help fulfill the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

The Church Transformation Process

As we announced last year, in 2019 our office worked with 20 churches of various sizes. We are still continuing to work with some of these congregations and we have added on more churches since the fall of 2019. In 2019, we launched a new Church Transformation Process specifically geared toward churches worshiping between 30 and100. We consulted with 13 of these churches with 9 congregations proceeding into the process. These churches are Maplewood-Sulphur, St Paul Monroe, FUMC Oak Grove, Newman Alexandria, Northwood Lafayette, Louisiana Memorial Opelousas, FUMC Covington, Clinton UMC, and FUMC Ponchatoula.

Additionally, churches worshiping over 100 who have also entered the process this year include St. Charles, Aldersgate, and Jefferson.

While the Transformation Process for churches worshiping less than 100 and those worshiping over 100 differs slightly in methodology, these congregations all engage in the Process through:

Leadership Development and Self Study

The pastor and key lay leaders from the church attend learning sessions to receive an orientation to the process, gain increased understanding of the need for adaptive change, and learn best practices to begin moving the congregation toward greater effectiveness and fruitfulness. Additionally, leaders will increase their awareness of the current reality of their congregation and their community through a self-study process.

Consultation and Implementation

During this phase, trained team members carefully review the self-study materials provided by the church. They then spend time interviewing church leaders and offering an all-church workshop during which even more information and feedback is received from the congregation. At the end of this process, based on the self-study submitted by the church, the interviews, and the all-church workshop, our team will work with church leaders to discern the congregation’s top strengths and concerns. Together with an assigned coach, they will develop Ministry Action Plans specific to each church’s needs and context. Then, over the next 12- 18 months, the pastor and church leadership will work with their coach to help the church move forward into its preferred future.

This updated Process can now be offered in-person (when allowed), as a hybrid onsite/online model, or completely online - whatever best meet the needs of your church in this challenging time. Entering the Transformation Process requires both a recommendation from the District Superintendent and a vote by the Church Council.

Please contact the Church Transformation Office at Transformation@la-umc.org for more info.

Black Church Vitality

The Black Church Vitality Task Force was formed to empower and grow the African-American Churches in our Conference. Through the efforts of this group, we have had four workshops specifically geared to African American Churches.

In September 2019, Rev. William Chaney of Chaney Consultant Group, led Leadership Development in the African American Context at Newman UMC, Alexandria. There we learned new leadership skills to reach emerging African American Communities, how to develop effective ministry teams, and envision new possibilities to refocus the church. Looking ahead, we are partnering with The Mississippi Annual Conference for The Black Church Convocation in the New Orleans area in 2022. Be on the lookout for more information about this exciting opportunity.

Southern University

Upon the appointment change of the Director of the Southern University Wesley Foundation, the Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry (CBHECM) invited our office to come in and do an assessment of the ministry and potential moving forward. We performed an assessment by interviewing students, board members, and interim directors about what has been happening at the Southern Wesley and what they would like to see. Once the assessment and recommendations were made and accepted by CBHECM, a partnership was formed with CBHECM and the Office of Congregational Development and Transformation to create a new model for ministry to the Southern University Campus.

We are excited to share the vision for a new model of church to reach this college campus and the surrounding area. The current campus ministry facility at Southern University (SUBR) will be transformed into a dynamic hub of ministry and will serve as the location for a New Church Plant to reach students of SUBR and young professionals in Baton Rouge! There is a great opportunity to develop a dynamic worship experience on campus. Additionally, plans include a 3rd space for students as well as a means to support the financial sustainability of the ministry. And finally, this exciting new ministry will serve as a Ministry Internship Incubator that would raise up new, young, African American leaders as well as equip and empower African American Churches in the Louisiana Conference. Plans are underway to appoint a Church Planter and renovate the building. We welcome your support of this innovative endeavor.

New Church Development

God is doing some amazing things in Louisiana through new church projects! This past year has been a year of fertilizing the ground for planting new churches and we are excited to announce many of them were able to launch this year, even in the midst of COVID! The new Churches launching this year are Embrace and Mid City. We also have The Bridge, an extension campus of University UMC, Lake Charles that has already began reaching new people in innovative ways. We are also excited about the brand-new endeavor to start a church on Southern Campus in Baton Rouge in partnership with CBHECM, to begin to reach the mission field of the college students and the young professionals of the surrounding area. All of the planters work closely with their assigned coaches, are trained by our office, and are held accountable to meet their benchmarks. We will continue to equip and train our planters and partnering churches, and continue to recruit new planters and scout the right mission fields for them so that new churches can be launched successfully - growing and multiplying to make new disciples of Jesus Christ!

Here is a summary in the words of the pastors leading those efforts:

Embrace, Shreveport District - Rev. Klay Harrison

Embrace is living into our calling and happy to have launched weekly worship in January 2020. Jesus has blessed us on the journey this year as new people engage weekly with Embrace’s ministries. Small groups, worship, fun events, local mission events, meet-your-neighbor events, events at the park, events in neighborhoods…and just about any other reason to host an event…digital or physical (socially distanced, of course). These are just some of the ways Embrace is bringing people together around Jesus and the mission. Embrace is now in the busy season of Launch where we are constantly innovating and being courageous to reach our goals and forward the mission. Looking forward to the rest of 2020 and into 2021, Embrace is excited to reach new people and develop E3 Jesus Followers, who Embrace Jesus, Embrace People, and Embrace Church. Learn more at www.EmbraceYourParish.org and join us at mission partners in Haughton, Louisiana.

The Table at Blackwater UMC, Baton Rouge District - Rev. Angela Roberson

What a tremendous first year we have had at The Table! We have celebrated 12 baptisms, 3 professions of faith, and lives changed through opportunities to serve and grow in relationship with Jesus and with our faith community. Prior to COVID, we had an average of 70 people in church each week with 60% of those people serving regularly on Sunday teams and outreach events. We continue to increase our group participation with the rate of new involvement this semester increasing by 30% of our average Sunday attendance. It has been an adventure of a lifetime and we have been amazed to witness God at work in the lives of our community. As we look toward our second year of making an impact where we live, work, and play, our goal is to increase our missional engagement in neighborhoods where our people reside. We envision The Table being a place where neighborhoods in Central look and live differently because our people are in their midst.

Mid-City Church, Campus of First UMC, BR, Baton Rouge District – Rev. Fernie Rivera

Mid-City Church, originally scheduled to launch physically in the spring of 2020 at Bernard Terrace Elementary School, instead launched digitally. During the spring of 2019, after months of engaging with the Mid City community of Baton Rouge, our team identified our mission of empowering people to find life and person in Jesus by gathering in worship, growing in small groups, and giving our lives in service. By the fall of 2019, we had launched 6 small groups reaching a total of 50 new people and served with various organizations such as Famine Is The Enemy and Mid City Redevelopment Alliance. By the spring of 2020 we launched our Charity Trivia Nights in which teams compete for a chance to win money for their favorite local charity. Today, Mid City Church continues to connect with their mission field with a “church without walls” mentality…digitally and physically.

The Bridge, Campus of University UMC, Lake Charles District - Rev. Chris Hyde

The Bridge is a fresh expression of worship and connection growing on the east side of Lake Charles. Prior to COVID, the church has begun to have small groups that meet throughout the city a various location reaching those that aren’t connected to a faith community. We have begun to have monthly events to show our presence at the facility that was graciously given to the church by the conference and renovated by our main campus church, University UMC. The facility is currently being used as a multi-use space that hosts everything from some of the small group gatherings to a weekly yoga class to art classes on Fridays. Every “thing” that is held within the facility is a point of contact for the community. The launch team is working diligently in this pre-launch season to embrace a DNA of outwardly focused, mission-oriented connection with all who we encounter. Our primary form of contact with the community is through our small group connections and invitations to connect with a church that reaches out into the community rather than insulates itself from the world.

Foundry, Monroe District, Rev. Chad Brooks

Foundry has had a busy year of ministry. We chartered this year with 152 people. By Annual Conference 2020 we will be nearing completion of our first worship facility in Sterlington, La. Since beginning worship nearly 5 years ago, we have seen the faithfulness of Jesus in our ministry with over 100 active kids a year in our children’s ministry, a feeding ministry with multiple activities across Ouachita Parish, and the ability to bring the presence of Christ into multiple places across Sterlington and Monroe through events, pop-in worship services, and partnering with other organizations in our community to create spaces for people to experience the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

We are excited about this new year and the ministry changes it will bring to us being in a permanent worship space for the first time. We are continuing to both ask the question and rise to the challenge of what it means to create and be a disciple of Jesus Christ in the 21st century.

We are thankful for the support of the Louisiana Conference of the UMC for the many ways it has supported us over the past 5 years, and we are excited to be a chartered church as part of this connection together.

Action Empowerment Inc. (7th Ward), New Orleans District – Rev. Joe Connelley

This year we were accepted as a new participant in GBGM’s Community Developers program. Action also became a part of Toshiba and Brother Corporations Training arms for copier repair technician jobs. We can provide individuals with the opportunity to become certified as technicians and be hired into average salary jobs starting at $31.00 per hour. In addition, in June, we started our program for 6th thru 8th graders called Daughters of Destiny and Sons of Distinction as a summer outreach.

New Places for New People (NP2)

New Places for New People (NP2) takes us outside our church buildings and into the community in fresh, innovative ways to reach new people in new places in new ways. This might be a gathering of people in a gym, coffee shop, park, or even at the river with worship and faith development components. NP2 projects are anchored to existing churches, connecting churches with people who would never enter the church building on a Sunday morning.

In 2019, we trained over 100 clergy and laity across the state on how to reach New People in New Places. We also offered grants through our “Shark Tank Pitch Program” that allowed churches to pitch their idea for an NP2 in hopes of getting funded. We are pleased to announce that three projects were selected for funding. Elton UMC’s 5th Quarter Church - a gathering for middle and high school community students and parents, Mallalieu UMC’s On Main Street - a Community Dinner Church in the heart of St. Martinville, and Aldersgate UMC’s Dungeons and Dragons Church - a church for gamers. Each church is developing their idea and connecting through a coaching cohort to reach their mission field effectively. Our hope is to continue this movement of God throughout the Louisiana Conference.

A huge win, even in the midst of the pandemic is Dinner Church. Dinner Church is a meal that is explicitly sacramental in nature. The meal is a celebration of communion and is framed with a Eucharistic prayer. By celebrating the Eucharist at an ordinary table through an ordinary meal, we encounter Christ as present in all the ordinary places in our lives, not just those marked as “holy.” Broadmoor UMC’s Red Stick Together began as a Dinner Church serving an average of 70 people per week. During the early stages of the pandemic, they pivoted and began serving an average of 300 people per week through Drive-Thru Dinner Church. This allowed them to reach even more people in their context and are dreaming of launching a new Drive-Thru Dinner Church location soon.

If your church is interested in this, or any of our programs, please contact the office of Congregational Development and Transformation (transformation@la-umc.org)

Rev. Dr. Gloria Fowler, Rev. Sam Hubbard, Serena Eckert, Rhonda Whitley
Office of Congregational Development and Transformation Team


Discipleship Team 

Discipleship Team

Mission: To inspire and support local churches and leaders for their task of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the World.

Vision: To support/resource pastors and congregants to grow in their Christian Discipleship that they may discover their God-given purpose through instruction and relationships and step out of their comfort zones to transform the world through risk-taking service.

Mission Principle 1: Provide resources to our pastors and churches that provide methodologies for discipling people at all six stages of spiritual development through invitation, instruction, relationships and service with the primary goal of each becoming a self-feeding, fully committed follower of Jesus Christ.

Mission Principle 2: Look for and establish partnerships with groups charged with reaching youth and children such as the Conference/District Council on Youth Ministry and our Camping ministries in order to resource and support the critical development of discipleship in our young people.

Mission Principle 3: Look for opportunities to build connection within the Conference that we might grow together in our Discipleship and bring growth and accountability across the Connection.

CCYM/DCYM Partnership: Meets Mission Principles 2 and 3

BoD is partnering with CCYM/DCYM to enhance and support their efforts to disciple children, youth and young adults. We will be working with a specially formed task force to increase participation in both the Jr. High and Sr. High retreats by bringing in nationally known speakers, and reaching out to all the conference churches but particularly mid-sized and smaller churches to offer models of children’s and youth ministries that work best in their context. Children and Youth Leader Training hosted in Louisiana. Many smaller congregations must rely on unpaid servants to lead their youth groups. These unpaid servants generally cannot travel to the large youth leader trainings hosted around the country. The 2020 Refresh Conference for Children and Youth Leaders has been moved to January/February 2021 due to CoVid 19.

Clergy Covenant Groups: Meets Mission Principles 1 and 3

Expand opportunities for clergy to experience clergy covenant groups with the support of a Spiritual Director and following the book The Band Meeting by Watson and Kisker. Three new pilot covenant groups would be formed. Each group will consist of 6 members plus a Spiritual Director. They will be asked to commit to a six month covenant during which they will be taken through the book and have the opportunity to lead aspects of the book. The last two sessions will be opportunities to continue the practice without discussion of the book being part of the experience. The clergy attending will be equipped to return to their congregations and begin small group experiences based on the book The Band Meeting. In 2020 expansion of this program was suspended due to CoVid19.

Mustard Seed Ministry: Creating Healthy Churches Meets Mission Principles 1 and 3
A overnight retreat for Pastors and Leaders of Small Membership Churches.

SESSION ONE: Ministry in a smaller church setting

This session looks at the unique challenges of ministry in the smaller church setting and provides some practical “how to” ways understand the personality of the people who attend smaller churches.

SESSION TWO:

This session looks at developing leaders in the smaller church setting and provides practical “how to” tools to develop leaders who may need to multi-task in the smaller church setting.

SESSION THREE:

This session looks at providing opportunities for the continued growth of leaders and the people who serve and how to ensure they are being “fed” while serving others.

SESSION FOUR:

This session looks at the unique challenges of creating cohesive teams in a smaller church setting. It gives practical, how to, tools that help to build up the body of believers, how to develop those teams, and how to assess the effectiveness of teams. Further development of this Conference was suspended due to CoVid19.

The Harry Denman Evangelism Award: This award honors United Methodists selected by the annual conference for their exceptional ministry of evangelism - expressed in Word (what), Sign (why), and Deed (how) – that brings people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. A Harry Denman Evangelism Award recipient consistently introduces those they serve to the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their ministry is outstanding for the number of new Christ Followers who credit encounters with this person as critical in helping to start or reignite their faith journey. 
2019 Recipients: Rev. John Robert Black and Brian Sibley

One Matters Award – General Board of Discipleship:

Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church is urging each conference to use the award to recognize one church that is turning zeros into positive numbers with a renewed focus on discipleship. “With the One Matters Discipleship Award, we want to lift up the importance of discipleship and help interpret across the connection what zeros in professions of faith and baptism mean and what moving away from the zeros means,” said Jeff Campbell, Director of Annual Conference Relationships at Discipleship Ministries. “Each "1" in those categories represents a transformed life – a life that matters to God, and a life that should matter to us.”

The Cabinet recommended St. Luke’s UMC, Shreveport for the 2020 “One Matters Award.”

John Gilmore, Chair


Mission & Mercy Team 

Mission and Mercy Team 

The Mission and Mercy Team of the Louisiana Annual Conference made grants in total of $79,897.00 for congregational community ministry. Projects ranged from assembling personal bags of toiletries for teenagers, an investment to widen cultural music skills, structure to support young adults aging out of foster care, and fellowship meals for seniors. The Covid Pandemic has forced changes in the use of these funds. Congregations have put some projects on hold or have found creative means to use the resource in the spirit of the grant. Applications for grants are open as long as funding is available.

Applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis. Applications are available at https://www.laumc.org/grants.

The LaFon Home Grant - Up to $10000/20000 specifically for ministries with African American, urban and poverty contexts. Resources from a portion of the sale of the LaFon Home, a conference held property, are available to create, sustain, and grow ministry in the African-American context, ministry in urban settings, and ministry to people of poverty. Priority will be given to, but not limited to, ministry in the New Orleans area. Basic project grants can be given up to $10,000. Larger grants can be considered up to $20,000 with matching funds in hand.

Peace with Justice Grant - Up to $2000 available to support programs, projects and training addressing one or more of the United Methodist Social Principals. Resources from the Conference Peace with Justice Offering can be used to support programs, projects, and training (workshops, conferences, and study tours) which engage one of more of the United Methodist Social Principles. Grants up to $2,000 can be given for church wide projects. Grants up to $800 can be given to individuals. 

Support Action Ministry (SAM) - Up to $2000 available annually to assist establishment of a new mission project. These resources can be used to provide a portion of the initial funding necessary for a local church to establish a new mission project serving youth. Grants up to $2,000 can be given.

Vital Conversations Grants - $500 per event available to encourage and support vital conversations about systematic inequalities between two churches. Create and resource a vital conversation about race, cultural diversity, xenophobia, privilege, and systematic inequality between two churches, at least one of which is United Methodist. Five hundred dollars could be used to purchase materials and other resources to facilitate a conversation.

Peacemaker Quick Action Grant - $500 per event available to equip a local church to act as a peacemaker during moments of social unrest. This is a quick turnaround for resources to equip the local church as a peacemaker in a time of social unrest or protest. Applications will be received year-round and can be approved in a 24-hour period to allow churches to be immediate in ministry with water, snacks, sunscreen, first aid supplies and symbols of peace.

The Revolving Loan Program is still available to churches in need of emergency repairs and minor remodeling.

Rev. Ann Sutton
Chair, Mission and Mercy Team

Recommendation of the Mission and Mercy Team of the Louisiana Conference

Whereas we are called by our baptism to confront evil in whatever forms it should appear.

Whereas racism is a long time, deeply entrenched evil which hides among us to devour us all.

Whereas the confrontation of racism is a continuing process of examination and reflection necessary for each generation to recognize the historic reoccurring and newly emerging forms of inequality as we continue to move toward the Kingdom of God which includes people of all ages, nations, and races.

Whereas the present structure, members and resources of the Mission and Mercy Team has been insufficient to offer focused leadership and action to affect change in issues of race and equality as it exists in our culture and church life,

Therefore it is recommended that a Conference Taskforce on Racism be established in 2021

  • to offer conference leadership and accountability as it relates to issues of race and equality within the life of the Louisiana Conference
  • to connect with and utilize the resources of Jurisdictional and General Boards of Religion and Race, Peace with Justice and Church and Society
  • to initiate and implement conversation and collaborative action within the local church, district, and Conference
  • to hold the Conference accountable and to make recommendations for equity and equality in matters of policy, practice, employment and nomination

The Conference Taskforce on Racism will be funded from resources of the M&M budget - $20,000 from the rollover from the 2019 Mission and Mercy Team budget for initial funding and future funding to consist of 20% of the Conference annual apportionment to M&M (to date that is 20% of $17,000 or $3,400). 

That this task force shall stand in perpetuity until the Conference restructures the Mission and Mercy Team in such a manner that a Conference committee is formed through Conference rules to be nominated and funded in order to address matters of race and equality within the Conference.

This task force will consist of 10 persons - clergy/lay, diverse in age, race & culture - made up of one person designated by each district leadership teams (4), two designated by the Cabinet (2), two designated by the Bishop (2), and two designated by the Mission and Mercy team selected from a pool of conference wide nominations or self-nominations. The two positions filled by the Mission and Mercy Team will be used to adjust for diversity and passion.

  • Native American Ministries 

    Native American Ministries

    LACONAM continues to promote and support our Louisiana Native American Ministries and beyond Louisiana to help our Conference and churches, clergy and laity be aware of our presence in this conference and country. WE thank all of you who are aware of our presence and needs. WE want you to know of our needs with the Clanton Chapel UMC Preschool and the Dulac Community Center in Dulac, Louisiana, serving and doing Our Lord’s work. Yes, there are Houma Indians in Dulac and we do have a congregation of Houma Indians who seek to be an all, inclusive United Methodist Church and the Dulac Community Center who reaches out to the needs of the community.

    WE celebrate all the groups who work with Clanton Chapel and the Dulac Community Center who come from all over the conference and country to do all we can to bring Jesus and His Love to all people. WE celebrate the Love that our beloved Lay Leader Joseph Conklin Boyd, Jr. shared with our congregation and support of our preschool who went home to Our Lord on May 16 of 2020.

    Concerns for our Ministries and LACONAM: we need to find more ways for support of the Clanton Chapel Preschool within the Conference and beyond, church programs are limited on who can help. WE celebrate the work done by Mary Billiot, Executive Director to find other sources of support for the Dulac Community Center, but needs are there.

    We celebrate the work of Mission and Mercy Team through the leadership of Ann Sutton and all the members who take time to make Our Lord’s work happen in the Louisiana Annual Conference and including us in this Ministry.

    Items for action in Louisiana Conference: WE ask that the work of LACONAM be publicized in each church of the Louisiana Annual Conference with the help of our Bishop, Cabinet, Clergy and Laity, and churches consider supporting us in any way possible beginning with prayer. WE are available to share our story. In these times, we as Native Americans want our conference to know Red Lives Matter too!

    WE ask Our Bishop Cynthia Fiero Harvey and our cabinet to ask churches to support our LACONAM and those who serve in this Ministry.

    In Our Great Creator’s Service with His Son and Great Spirit

    C. Kirby Verret,Chair
    LACONAM (985) 856-5037

  • Missional Engagement and Outreach

    Missional Engagement and Outreach 

    The Office of Missional Engagement and Outreach continues to do the vital work of responding to the needs of those overwhelmed by storm or poverty. Although the office saw a leadership change in 2019, when Rev. Laraine Waughtal became the Senior Pastor of FUMC, Deridder and Rev. Elaine Burleigh assumed the responsibilities as Director, the Office remained committed to the work of Disaster Response and Volunteers in Mission. 

    Disaster Response 

    The two most significant disasters to befall Louisiana in recent years were the floods of 2016 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Our Disaster Response ministry opened case management offices for those disasters, helping those impacted by the storms navigate the difficult process of filing insurance claims, applying for SBA loans and FEMA assistance, and finally rebuilding. We received grants and donations many organizations, including UMCOR, Capital Area United Way, Ginghamsburg UMC, and from countless individuals across the nation. We spent over $5 million to help families rebuild their lives and we partnered with agencies like United Way, Catholic Charities, St. Vincent De Paul, AmeriCorps, American Red Cross, United Methodist Nomads, UM Army, Sager Brown, numerous United Methodist Churches and over 2,300 individual volunteers to help rebuild the homes of those impacted by the storms. By the time we closed our last case management offices on May 31, 2019, we had helped over 550 families recover from the devastation of these disasters.

    We served on the ground

    The Louisiana Gulf Coast was spared any significant damage from hurricanes or tropical storms during 2019, but several areas of our state did see flooding and tornadoes during the year. Our Early Response Teams deployed to Varnado, Pineville, Oberlin, Ruston and Alexandria in response to those disasters.

    We grew our ministry

    We trained an additional 50 ERTs in a total of 4 Basic Training classes and 2 Advanced Training classes. In addition, we held one “Train the Trainer” event, and now have an additional 2 UMCOR certified ERT trainers in Louisiana. In 2019, we instituted our new Chainsaw training class as a prerequisite for any ERT member to use a chainsaw while on an official deployment. Ten ERTs received chainsaw training at this first class.

    We connected with others around the connection

    Three of our team members attended to UMCOR Disaster Response Training in Georgia and Arkansas, where they were able to improve their skills and connect with other United Methodists active in Disaster Response around the connection.

    We helped other Annual Conferences recover from disasters

    Over the years, other United Methodist Conferences have made significant financial gifts to Louisiana to help us recover from various storms. Thanks to the generosity of Louisiana United Methodists, we were able to send almost $24,000 to other annual conferences in 2019 to aid in their disaster recovery. The recipients of these gifts include the Great Plains Annual Conference, The Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference, the North Carolina Annual Conference, the South Carolina Annual Conference, the Texas Annual Conference and the California-Nevada Annual Conference.

    Volunteers in Mission

    The Louisiana Conference has a long and proud tradition of sending VIM teams into the mission field. Since the reorganization of the Louisiana VIM office almost a decade ago, the VIM ministry has become more decentralized. While many churches are still actively engaged in VIM ministry, sending teams both domestically and internationally, fewer churches are registering their teams with the Conference Office. Four teams registered their VIM missions with the Conference Office in 2019, though many more teams were engaged in the ministry of VIM during 2019.

    The VIM Leadership Team hosted a Fall Mission Academy at the Wesley Center in September of 2019, offering Basic Team Leader Training, a Team Leader Recertification course, classes in Missional Experiences, Theology of Mission, Host Perspective of Mission, and a Domestic and an International Missions panel. Thirty-four participants attended the Mission Academy in 2019. The Leadership Team planned a Spring 2020 Mission Academy that had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the cancellation, the Leadership Team is making plans to transition Mission Academy to an online format so participants can take the courses as needed. This online format will also allow us to reach a larger audience and train more people to become certified team leaders.

    Missional Engagement & Outreach VIM Leadership Team

    Class of 2016: Dale Smith, Beverly Dinnel, Chuck Reynolds, Diane Reich
    Class of 2020: John Lord, Lisa Lord, Shelly Brah, Julie Lafosse, Bob Deigh

    Respectfully Submitted,
    Rev. Elaine Burleigh

Youth Ministries 

Youth Ministries

The focus of Conference Youth Ministries is to further the mission, vision, and core values of the Louisiana Annual Conference while serving the local church in the area of Youth related opportunities.

Through Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM) and/or District Council on Youth Ministries (DCYM) disciples of Christ, as well as leaders in our community and in our church, are being made and growing in their faith. In these leadership roles, adults and youth alike are given a safe space to address concerns, exercise courage, and take risks related to, but not limited to, youth ministry. Youth in these leadership roles are given opportunities to voice, discuss, and implement new ideas. Following events, evaluation allows for more discussion and assessment within the realm of offering grace and compassion to each situation and each person. The Office of Youth Ministry (YM) continues to see an increase in attendance and commitment from the youth serving in these leadership positions. Our young people say they feel valued and that they are part of a cohesive team, supported and encouraged in the love of Christ. We hope to continue to foster this kind of commitment in future youth leaders that enter the ministry of CCYM and DCYM.

Conference Youth Ministry events and retreats are primarily planned, organized, and implemented by the youth in leadership. These opportunities nurture spiritual growth in these youth as well as those whom they lead throughout the events and retreats. It is with integrity and accountability that these youth direct and actualize annual functions. It has been a wonderful experience to see youth from all over the Louisiana Annual Conference come together in praise, prayer, witness, and worship to create a connection that extends beyond these planned events 

Over the last year it has been a goal for the active youth ministries within the local churches to reach out to others in their communities or districts to create more involvement in conference and district activities. In being connected at the district and conference levels local church youth ministers and youth groups have more access to training, resources, and support from others who are in the same area of ministry. These relationships emphasize our support and connectivity as the United Methodist Church, as well as keep the Office of YM informed as to how we can best serve the local churches. Through these relationships we are striving to create space for diverse demographics as well as multiple styles of worship appealing to the diversity of the conference.

We, youth and adults alike, strive for our work to be evaluated by more than the number of youth served at Conference events, but rather by the impact our work is generating at the local church level. While the Office of Youth Ministries realizes the extreme value of honoring budgets and utilizing conference supported facilities, we strive to ensure that the needs of the youth and adults who attend our events are met in a way that honors their needs and conveys the abundant life in Christ and His overwhelming love for all.

There is no doubt that the Office of Youth Ministries continues to see its share of challenges; however, with each one, we as a team, have prevailed and grown. In 2019/2020 we served 190 participants at Junior High Retreat and had 210 registered for Senior High Retreat which had to be canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although these numbers are great, we realize that one of the big challenges we face is a lack of funding for youth related ministry opportunities in so many of our smaller congregations. We have partnered with the Board of Discipleship to provide creative solutions in making ministry more affordable for disadvantaged youth and smaller churches throughout the Conference while still providing quality programming during our events.

New for 2019, we held the 1st Annual, “Refresh” Ministry Retreat for Children’s and Youth Ministry workers. Because of our partnership with Board of Discipleship we were able to provide 10 scholarships and keep the registration fee very low for everyone. The retreat was geared to low or unpaid workers in the local church. We were able to hit each one of our goals in attendance, reaching those who had not been to a Conference event before and most importantly providing resources, connection, and spiritual renewal for those in attendance.

The CCYM worked extremely hard this year to make valuable changes in the way retreats were carried out. Teams comprised of youth leadership as well as adults recently certified, or in process, in Youth Ministry worked on writing the curriculum for this year’s theme: Deep Water. Some may be surprised, but youth sometimes push back at change just as some adults resist change. However, conference youth and adults have realized that tradition and change can be merged for wonderful outcomes. There is a bond and understanding among the youth that all gifts are welcome at the table and all have something to offer the Youth Ministry of the Louisiana Conference. We expect our next Summer Meeting (formerly LYMO - Louisiana Youth Ministry Organization), which is our annual planning meeting in June, to overflow with risk-taking ideas that will result in new ways of sharing in ministry with one another.

We continued to pray that the Louisiana Annual Conference recognizes the value of conference youth ministry and supports this thriving ministry by its prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. After reading this report, should you find yourself wondering how the Office of Youth Ministry can serve you or your church, please reach out to our office. We welcome your thoughts, ideas, and support.

In HIS service,
Julie Lafosse
Conference Youth Strategist/Coordinator
337-458-0163
youth@la-umc.org
http://www.la-umc.org/youthministrieshome

 

Board of Laity 

Board of Laity

The 2016-2020 Conference Board of Laity is focused upon following our Mission and Vision Statements as we serve the laity of the Louisiana Conference.

Mission Statement: As the conference Board of Laity, we are called to love and to serve All God’s people in All places and at All times.

Vision Statement: As the conference Board of Laity, we are to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world through spiritual growth opportunities, education opportunities, leadership training, and certified schooling for specialized areas of ministry for the people of the Louisiana Conference.

We celebrate:

  1. The interest and participation in the Certified Lay Minister program.
  2. The funding of scholarships for students to attend Centenary and Dillard Universities through the Daughenbaugh-Matheny Scholarship fund.
  3. A new commitment by the Board of Laity to promote the development of ministries at the local church and community level on behalf of children and youth throughout the Louisiana Conference. The first event was held on May 4, 2019, at Saint Luke-Simpson UMC, Lake Charles District. The second event was held on November 17, 2019 at First UMC of Bossier City, Shreveport District.
  4. A partnership with the Board of Discipleship in promoting ministries to families and children Conference-wide.
  5. The continuing commitment of the CBOL to disseminate information with the Louisiana Conference Laity.
  6. For the first time, a complete explanation of how to become a Delegate to General Conference and South Central Jurisdictional Conference, along with the forms to submit, is now available on the Louisiana Conference website.
  7. The election of Lay Delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conference for 2020 from the LA Conference

Our Goals and Priorities:

  1. To share information with the laity of the Louisiana Conference so they can: 

    a. Grow in their knowledge of the United Methodist Church’s structure, policy, and procedures.
    b. Strive for Laity Excellence in ministry.
    c. Participate in three-day spiritual retreats.
    d. Serve as Lay Speakers.
    e. Pursue becoming a Certified Lay Minister.
    f. Become certified in specialized ministries in the United Methodist Church.

  2. To continue to open more avenues of communication: 

    a. With local churches sharing learning/training opportunities with other churches.
    b. With districts sharing information of training opportunities throughout the conference.
    c. With districts sharing information within their districts.
    d. With the CBOL sharing information with local churches through any/all avenues available.

  3. To promote the development of ministries at the local church and community level on behalf of children and youth throughout the Louisiana Conference.

Concerns and Challenges:

  1. The continual need to improve communication with the local church laity.
  2. The continual need to improve communication with each district laity leadership.
  3. The continual need to schedule opportunities for learning/training events.
  4. The continual need to support the lay delegates for General and Jurisdictional conferences.
  5. Challenging the laity to focus on God, be excellent in our ministry to God and the church in ALL we are called to perform in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  6. To provide leadership to the LA Conference and local churches, in responding to adjustments to structure that may be required by action taken at General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 2020.

As the CBOL attempts to serve the laity of the Louisiana Conference, we ask for your prayers, support, and guidance that we may not only serve the laity, but our Lord, to the best of our ability.

Terrel DeVille, Conference Lay Leader
Jennifer Swann, Associate Conference Lay Leader

  • Daughenbaugh-Matheny Scholarship 

    Daughenbaugh-Matheny Scholarship

    The Committee

    We have added one new committee member this year. Shreveport District nominated Donna Foster to the committee who has been a wonderful representative. Paul Fontenot, Lay Leader for Acadiana District, has been filling in. Many thanks to all on the committee for their willingness to serve! It has been my pleasure to work with you these last four years.

    Paul Fontenot Acadiana District
    Rhonda Whitley Baton Rouge District
    Greg Bergstedt Lake Charles District
    Olivia Pruett Monroe District
    Nick Harris New Orleans District
    Donna Foster Shreveport District


    Committee members will interview any new potential scholarship recipients and first year recipients from their districts for the upcoming academic year in April. Final scholarship recipients will be chosen and announced in May.

    The Board of Laity voted in February to update the requirements for membership to the Daughenbaugh Matheny Scholarship Committee. Two major changes were made and approved. The first change is that the chairperson of the committee may serve only as the chair and not simultaneously as a district representative. This allows the chair to remain in a neutral position and break ties when necessary without conflict of interest issues. The second change requires that no member of the committee may be an employee or board member of either of the two institutions which receive the scholarships, Centenary College or Dillard University, and requires that any committee member with a personal or professional relationship to an applicant or the applicant’s immediate family must recuse her/himself from all voting with regards to the applicant.

    Account Update for 2019

    The Daughenbaugh Matheny Scholarship Fund had a year-end balance of $58,574.72. The committee funded 12 scholarships at $1500 each for six students attending Dillard University and six students attending Centenary College for a total of $18,000. In 2019 fundraising and donations have increased significantly! Thank you for answering last year’s call to continue to financially support this program. Please continue to support the fund this year with your gifts and your prayers.

    Applications

    The application is available online and can be found at https://www.laumc.org/daughenbaughmathenyscholarship. The link has been sent to all district secretaries to disseminate through district email lists. All current recipients who will be eligible again next year have also been sent the link to the application. We have begun to receive applications and currently have five renewal applicants for the 2020-2021 academic year. Of the 12 recipients from the 2019-2020, four are graduating and one has left Dillard University mid-year. Prorated funds have been returned for the student who left Dillard. Most exciting news though is that one of our graduates is pursuing a life in ministry and is actively applying to seminary. Your prayers and gifts are truly bringing up new leaders for our church.

    If you know a student who is attending or is planning to attend either Centenary College or Dillard University, has a minimum 2.5 GPA, is a Louisiana resident and an active member of a Louisiana Conference United Methodist Church, please encourage him/her to apply.

    Respectfully Submitted,
    Elizabeth Cole, PhD
    Director, Daughenbaugh Matheny Scholarship Fund

  • Lay Servant Ministry

    Lay Servant Ministry 

    Greetings to all! This year has been filled with many usual events and scenarios. However, we as United Methodist press on toward our shared goal of making disciples for Jesus Christ. Our global pandemic has altered the way we come together for worship and service, but it has not stopped our mission. The Lay Servant Committee is fully committed to continue to offer lay servant trainings to those who may need certification courses to continuing education courses. Laity interested in partaking of upcoming spring or fall courses should contact his or her District Lay Servant director for information about each course offering in each season. Contact information for each district director may be obtained from each District office.

    Provisions to educate and train members of our laity in the roles certified lay servants, certified lay speakers and certified lay ministers have taken a more detailed, in depth, focused and streamlined process. New initiatives at the districts levels to engage, equip, and educate the laity for community ministries are coming into place. In the midst of a global pandemic, our partnership with online lay servant training will take on a vital level of importance. Our United Methodist Church connection affords us a great opportunity to achieve our educational standards via Be A Disciple, an innovative online learning platform that provides many all of the required courses for those seeking basic or advanced Lay servant training. Lay Servant Ministries is a bridging connection around the annual conference to pull all our resources together. Participating laity will see more personal contacts through each district lay servant director. Rotating gathering events to increase awareness of trainings, local church ministries, and community partners to assist in meeting ministry goals are being planned as social distancing standards allows. Laity are still encouraged to answer the call to serve in whichever capacity she or he may feel called to serve the greater mission of transformation of the world. Even though we are experiencing extenuating circumstances, we can continue to serve and work together for the greater good of our community and our world.

    Joy Egby
    Lay Servant Director

United Methodist Women 

United Methodist Women 

The organized unit of United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to Experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church. It is our vision to turn faith, hope and love into action on behalf of women, children and youth around the world. Our organization is structured so that our national, jurisdictional, conference and district leadership teams work to help the local units live out this vision.

The Louisiana Conference of United Methodist Women and our members around the world continue to carry out our purpose as we provide leadership, resources and opportunities to grow our faith in Christ as we put our faith into action. With flexible organizational structures, we are able to grow and carry out our purpose. Through leadership development and mentoring, we equip women and girls around the world to be leaders in their churches, communities, workplaces, agencies and governments. We work for justice and advocacy to change unfair policies and systems. We provide educational opportunities that lead to personal change in order to transform the world. Our strength begins with the local unit whose members live out their faith as they work diligently to carry out mission and continue to pledge nearly one quarter million dollars yearly to support the global ministries of the church as defined by the National Office.

Our 2019 Conference Annual Meeting occurred October 11-12 at First United Methodist Church in West Monroe, hosted by the Monroe District. “One Lord, One Body, One Spirit” was the theme, which was taken from our Scripture: Ephesians 4:4-6. Rev. Karli Danett Pidgeon, Associate Director of Congregational Development and Transformation for the Louisiana Conference, was the keynote speaker at our Friday night banquet. Leadership training for our district officers took place prior to the opening of our business meeting in the furtherance of our ongoing goal to provide leadership training to our members at all levels of our organization.

The 4th Sunday in January is the day United Methodist Churches recognize and celebrate the mission work carried out by our organization around the world. This year Leadership Development Days were held in St. Louis, Missouri on February 6-8, 2020. Three of our Conference Leadership Teams were invited to attend this outstanding training event. Our first conference wide event is held each year during the month of March. In alternating years, we hold either a Social Action or Spiritual Growth Event for our conference membership. This year our New Orleans District Team worked with our Spiritual Growth coordinator to develop plans for a wonderful event that was to be held at Conerstone UMC in New Orleans. However, the day prior to this activity, we received information from Bishop Harvey requesting that, due to the Corona Virus, all United Methodist meetings planned in the Louisiana Conference be postponed. With great sadness and much difficulty, everyone registered for the event was contacted and notified about the postponement.

Thus began our lockdown period, and life, as we knew it, was greatly changed. Many of our conference members were registered to attend the South Central Jurisdiction Conference to be held in Little Rock, Arkansas, March 25-29, 2020. Delegates to this meeting would have elected some of our National Leadership. This gathering was first postponed and now has been completely cancelled. Using new technologies, our election will take place in lieu of travel to St. Louis for training. However, this also had to be cancelled due to the restrictions in place. Therefore, we will not be able to hold our educational program this summer. In order to encourage younger women to take part in our mission school, plans were in place to shorten the length of our school and to hold it in a new location. Hopefully we will be able to reprise these plans next year. Brenda Thomas-Nero was to have served as our 2020 dean, but has agreed instead to assume that responsibility in 2021.

As we have begun to cope with the inability to gather, as we normally would expect to do, we are learning to use new technologies such as Zoom and Facebook to hold meetings and stay connected. We have also sent our direct newsletters and made many phone calls to support our members. Life has changed, but as with other groups and agencies, we are adapting. We are in the process of planning and offering one of our Mission U studies this summer, Finding Peace in an Anxious World, via Zoom. Going forward we are hopeful that we will be able to hold a shortened version of our Annual Meeting, October 17, 2020 at Broadmoor UMC hosted by the Baton Rouge District, depending on the reopening stage of our conference at that time.

Our organization continues to support the endowment, known as the Legacy Fund, created to ensure that United Methodist Women will be able to continue the mission of putting love, hope and faith into action for many years into the future. Thus far, we have raised well over half of the 60 million dollar goal we have set. We also continue to support our four Mission Institutions located in the Louisiana Conference: North Rampart Street Community Center, Dulac Community Center, MacDonell Children’s Services, and Sager Brown. This is especially important during the pandemic shutdown because these agencies have not been able to raise funds in ways usually open to them.

Our 2020 Goals include the following:

  • Develop ideas for new meeting structures and gathering times more convenient for younger and working women
  • Prepare members to assume leadership positions through Leadership Development Programs and mentoring
  • Use new forms of technology in order to reach our members, thereby saving both travel time and expense while providing new and more varied programming
  • Educate local units and districts about our amended by-laws for every part of our organizational structure whereby any woman may remain connected to our organization even if churches, districts or conferences choose to separate from the United Methodist Church
  • Place special emphasis on financial support of our Louisiana Conference Mission Institutions during the pandemic closure of the institutions

I covet your prayers and support as our Louisiana Conference United Methodist Women continue to live out our vision of expanding God’s Kingdom and transforming the world.

Margery Manuel,
UMC Conference President

 

United Methodist Men 

United Methodist Men 

"To Coach Men to Thrive In Christ, So Others May Know Him”

The Mission is to make Disciples of Men Everywhere

Irrespective of the outcome of the General Conference, Methodist Men will continue to be focused on making men disciples of Jesus Christ. There is not a man (or woman or child) alive who does not need Jesus. However, every statistical analysis from Pew Research, Barna Research and Christianity Today reveals that fewer and fewer men attend church, and even less are on a Discipleship track.

We seek to reach/connect with men to connect them first to Jesus, then through the local church to resource their discipling. The outcome is a man who is a positive influence for Christ in the world around us. The ultimate mission of United Methodist Men is the same as the UMC which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.

In 2019 the men in the Methodist Church made significant advances addressing needs for personal spiritual growth and reconnection within the Annual Conference. The 2019 LA UMC UMM Membership enjoyed a small increase over the previous year, that in spite of church closures! Moreover, a measurable impact of the ministry was a radical increase in ministry funding and expenditures conference-wide of over 61% from the previous year. $294,036.00 was raised & expended on ministry outreach endeavors.

The nationwide UMM Magazine featured articles on Louisiana Men which were highlighted in many issues. The publication celebrates the spiritual and service and mission activities of Louisiana Men in our local churches!

The Certified Men's Ministry Specialist program trains and certifies called and qualified men to work with local churches in building strong and effective men's ministry. Working in tandem with Vanderbilt University, the GCUMM brings men through a year-long training process to equip them properly. The General Commission on United Methodist Men is rich with Training and Resources which the MMS's bring to Districts and Local Churches. Louisiana UMM has seven Certified MMS & one MMS Candidate who is very close to certification, currently the largest number per capita of any Annual Conference. These men are actively volunteering in churches throughout the state. Additionally, many of our Certified Men’s Ministry Specialists serve regionally in the Jurisdiction, and beyond assisting UMC Churches and UMM Groups Nationwide.

2019 UMM Activity

Training

LA UMM attended the UMM National Association of Conference Presidents Meeting hosted by the General Commission on United Methodist Men in Nashville. Louisiana had the largest contingent of men in attendance & leadership.

Methodist Men brought the nation’s premier Christian Leadership Development training to 3 different areas this year. LEAD LIKE JESUS is the top biblical leadership training in the US. Developed by industry leadership guru Ken Blanchard who is also a member of the United Methodist Church. We held training at Clinton UMC in the Baton Rouge District, at Benton UMC & First UMC Natchitoches in the Shreveport District.

REACHING EVERY MAN training was held in several churches across the state where attendees learned about a process that is ALL INCLUSIVE of the church ministries which is successful in revitalizing the local church. Young men, a missing demographic, are reached and connected to the local church through this process!

ONE YEAR TO LIVE Men’s Spiritual Retreat is a new partnership between the Lutheran Men in Mission and the UMM. The LA UMM Conference President, Mark Lubbock participated as a staff member on the inaugural weekend event held in Norwood, LA. This retreat is designed to help men identify and focus on their “Purpose” in life as a Christian.

Retreats & District Men's Gatherings

St. Andrews UMM hosted a weekend Men’s Retreat at Feliciana Retreat Center focusing on Men’s Spiritual Development

Baton Rouge District UMM participated in the monthly “MEN’S UNITY BREAKFAST” which bridges RACIAL & DENOMINATIONAL lines to build relationships across a diverse demographic. This is an ongoing monthly outreach that has reached thousands in the community. For Martin Luther Day Alveda King, his niece, spoke at the Men’s Unity Breakfast.

Broadmoor UMC Baton Rouge UMM reactivated & planned events to address the Racial Divide with a national author/speaker.

LA UMM President Mark Lubbock worked with the UMM at Rayne Memorial in New Orleans as they rebuilt a dormant organization into a vibrant group.

In the Acadiana District Asbury UMC’s Dr. Bryan Sibley has organized quarterly Men’s Dinner Gatherings with a Christian Spiritual Speaker with 80 men attending from areas churches. Men hear a message they can relate to in their own lives while making new connections.

UMM from across the state participated in the National Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference in Baton Rouge area. This one day equipping conference features national Keynote Speakers along with 16 seminar speakers presenting resources to equip men in the local church.

Each year the New Orleans District UMM President Randall Schexnayder organizes an annual Men’s Banquet at Carrollton UMC.

Shreveport District UMM President & LA UMC UMM Vice President David Byerley has organized the inaugural James Poole Memorial Golf Tournament at Toledo Bend. This successful event created a great opportunity for fellowship while raising money for the Methodist Children’s Home.

NOTE: We are ACTIVELY SEEKING candidates to serve in District Leadership in the Lake Charles, Acadiana & Monroe Districts. Contact State President Mark Lubbock at mlubbock@gcumm.org if you or someone you know have interest in serving!

Missions & Ministry Outreach

UMM Proactive Clergy Support effort was piloted in the Baton Rouge District lead by Todd Shupe, District UMM President. Each of the Baton Rouge Clergy names were assigned to UMM volunteers who committed to actively Pray on behalf of the Clergy. Additionally, the District UMM visited District Churches to celebrate and support the clergy. This is an ongoing program that will ultimately expand across the state.

UMM is working with LIVING WATER to expand there mission reach. Living Water. is a national ministry that drills clean water wells in third-world countries with the ultimate goal of Sharing the Gospel to local residents through the volunteer team. (Newsong UMC in Prairieville is one such church raising funds and sending teams to serve.)

Local, National and International Missions are funded and staffed by UMM Including raising money for Empower Nepali Girls, Cambodia Health Missions, Honduras & Guatemala Missions, Cuba Missions, Louisiana Missions and much more.

Feeding the Hungry is an ongoing outreach in Louisiana by the UMM and tens of thousands of dollars have been raised and utilized in numerous programs to access and deliver food to the needy. Produce Drops are scheduled to repackage and distribute fresh food to the needy.

Numerous Wheelchair Ramps for houses and mobile homes have been built across the state by various UMM units to provide access for individuals who were literally trapped by their infirmity.

Tens of thousands of dollars was raised for scholarships for deserving students across the state for both secular and Methodist institutions of higher learning.

Creative ways to engage men who are not presently connected to UMM include Steak Dinners where a Christian Speaker will encourage and exhort the attendees, often sharing a compelling personal testimony. Several of our UMM units have been successful in expanding the numbers of engaged men through these events.

The GCUMM offers a discipleship process model taken from "No Man Left Behind" that has proven effective in reaching more men and connecting them to the life of the church. We offer local and regional training on how this can be easily adopted by local churches without changing the current programs. Suitable for any size church irrespective of the demographic or location we are actively looking to identify a few, select churches to become "Teaching Churches" wherein they will apply this model and then show others how to do likewise.

Many UMM Units across the state have raised funds to purchase and distribute “Faith Sharing New Testament” books. The GCUMM publishes a series of devotions that support First Responders, the Military and Scouts. These books have been distributed to EMS, Fire Stations, Police Departments, Sheriffs, Veterans, active Military and Scouts all across the entire state.

Thousands of these devotions which are custom-tailored for each group have been purchased and distributed. Testimonies from recipients continue to be heart-rending as they share personal stories of how the devotion helped them through times of great stress and tragedy.

Seeking to directly address racial division the UMM are active in several initiatives like the “Unity Breakfast” designed to bring Black & White Clergy and Leaders together to build personal relationships. This is just one endeavor which has been successful & which is growing in number each and every month. Different UMC Churches host this free breakfast event which features speakers and round table small groups that discuss hard, honest and relevant questions.

Focus

2020-2021 UMM Goals remain directed towards building out our state infrastructure, to educate local church leadership about the many beneficial programs & services offered through UMM and to expand our disciple making training and resources.

These include:

  • Church Leadership Training
    The General Commission on United Methodist Men has on Staff Nationally Certified Trainers who bring Professional expertise to the District and Local Church. We offer training that can develop a highly effective Church Leadership Team equipping leaders to work together effectively.
    • TEAM LEADERSHIP Training.
    • LEAD LIKE JESUS Leadership Development.
    • AMEN – End Abuse Now.
      WESLEY CLASS MEETING – How to develop a Church Culture of Wesley Small Groups that foster true Spiritual Development.
  • Officer Recruitment & Training
    • The objective is to achieve full staffing at all levels: State, District & Local. When complete the “Connection” will be restored enabling greater ministry and service engagement.
    • Training and equipping officers. UMM is much more than fellowship meetings and gatherings as illustrated by the above sampling of activity. Training officers will extend our reach and improve the effectiveness of our ministry to others.
  • Connecting With Every Church 
    • Supported by the General Commission on United Methodist Men the LA UMM seek to offer the great breadth of resources, training, programs and partnerships to the local church. The goal is to support the church in their mission to Makes Disciples for the transformation of the world.
  • Focus on Personal Spiritual Growth
    • Facilitate personal study and support for spiritual growth for the men in our churches and communities through education, training, online bible studies, local church study groups and more. UMM are presently training leaders on the historic Wesley Class Meeting using Kevin Watson’s book which was handed out to the Council of Bishops two years ago: “TheClass Meeting: Reclaiming a Forgotten (and Essential) Small Group Experience”. 
    • Promote Methodist Cursillo and Walk to Emmaus as significantly impactful spiritual transformation ministries.
    • Conduct LEAD LIKE JESUS Leadership Development Seminars throughout the state.

IMPORTANT WEBSITES:

www.gcumm.org

www.lcumm.org

www.strengthforservice.org

www.endhunger.org

prayer-center.upperroom.org

www.leadlikejesus.com

Respectfully submitted,
Mark Lubbock
LA UMM State President
mlubbock@gcumm.org

 

Communications

Communications

The Communications Department saw increased activity this year with the arrival of COVID-19. While not all areas of activity were related to COVID-19, many were.

Associate Member

After a nationwide search for an associate in the Communications Department, we hired Mary Burleigh, an LSU graduate, and native of Shreveport. Mary brings web management experience, along with an extraordinary eye for detail and planning. Burleigh serves as producer of the Louisiana NOW podcast and has been instrumental in launching the new website for the Annual Conference.

Louisiana NOW Podcast

In January, the Communications Department launched the Louisiana NOW podcast, a weekly show highlighting the News, Opportunities, and Witness of the Louisiana Conference. The show is hosted by Director of Communications, Rev. Todd Rossnagel, produced by Mary Burleigh and sponsored by the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana. The show became instrumental in story-telling amid COVID-19 as it was a "germ-free" way to interview and share stories of impact across the Conference.

COVID-19 and the Pandemic

As the pandemic began to swell, the Communications Department became a lifeline for many churches inside the Conference. Todd Rossnagel helped dozens and dozens of churches of all sizes. Rossnagel's guidance was everything from equipment suggestions to tutorials on how to go live on Facebook and other platforms. Additionally, the Communications department shared multiple COVID-19 resources on the website, everything from special worship services to children's ministry ideas.

At the same time, Rossnagel worked directly with the United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana as they provided grants for equipment. Rossnagel's expertise included streamlining suggestions for each church that applied for the grants.

Communicator of the Year

In May, the United Methodist Association of Communicators held its annual meeting. The traditional in-person gala had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and was streamed online for the first time. At that meeting, Todd Rossnagel was named Communicator of the Year for the United

Methodist Church. The criteria for nomination as Communicator of the Year include recent striking achievements in communication, broad impact of the communicator's contribution, and vision-thinking beyond the demands of the job.

New Website

In July, the Conference unveiled a new look for its web site. The new-look includes more straightforward navigation, improved search functionality, more comfortable to read fonts, and cleaner navigation for mobile devices. This website construction was a year in the making and continues to be tweaked as it slowly rolled out to the public. Included on each page is a "Notify" button that is found in the bottom righthand corner of the site. This notification button was set up for all users to use when they find outdated information, grammar errors, or suggestions on how to improve the functionality of the website. We encourage everyone to provide feedback through the "Notify" button.

Todd Rossnagel
Director of Communications

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