One of our Annual Conference priorities is equipping and empowering a new generation of United Methodist leaders. With a median age of 59 years old, our Conference is determined to empower a new generation to lead our church into the future that God has for us.
Dorothy Scott, one of our fine pastors, sent me this letter just after this year’s Annual Conference:
I thought you would appreciate the highlight of my annual conference experience
this year. Both the lay member and youth member from my church were experiencing annual conference for the first time. I drove Izabella Godsey, my youth member, back to Huntsville Saturday afternoon. She shared with me how wonderful and meaningful the entire experience had been for her. She talked about how this experience had her considering going into the ministry. I asked if she would be
willing to speak in church this morning, to share what this experience meant to her and what the church needed to know from Annual Conference.
This is just some of what she had to share, “Annual Conference was a very special experience for me. I learned a great deal about the United Methodist Church. We as Christians need to be about making disciples for Jesus Christ. I need to be making
disciples for Jesus Christ. From now on I intend to be about making disciples for
Jesus Christ. Thank you for making this experience possible. I hope that this experience will lead me to helping Valley to grow more Christians.”
Izy has always been a wonderful example of faith. She was in the first confirmation class I led at Valley. One of the joys of being at Valley has been watching us develop a youth and children’s program. I thought about this as Lovett Weems shared that
young ministers came from growing up in the church. Izy’s grandparent’s and aunt
had been active at Valley when I arrived. The first change I made at Valley was to develop a children’s program and Izy was one of the first new children to begin coming regularly to church. Izy is currently 17 and when she turned 16 she became a more active member because she could drive herself to church and not depend on her parents for a ride. She loves opportunities for leadership and she has been in
charge of crafts at VBS for three years. I do not know what the future will hold for Izy but I believe that this conference strenghtened her faith and encourage d her toward serving Christ.
My lay member had to leave on a business trip at 8 a.m. this morning. She wrote me an email at 6:30a.m. saying that she had written up a series of educational moments
to share in the next few weeks about the ministries of our church. She and I discussed these moments during conference. They are designed to help Valley learn about what great ministry the church is about and encourage greater financial support. Jenny is a very successful and busy business woman who is in the midst of great professional transitions. She worked her entire month around being able to
come to conference. Her two children returned from our first youth mission trip on Friday. She hoped to spend time with them before having to leave for the next two weeks on business. However, in the midst of all this she took the time to take what she learned from conference and write it up so that it might be shared by her husband with the church in the next few weeks.
Both Jenny and Izy give me great faith in the future of the United Methodist
Church. This weekend strengthened and encouraged them. As a pastor when you push people to try something new it is so important that it enrich them. Thank you for making this happen for them.
Yours in Christ,
Dorothy Scott (Thankful to be serving at Valley UMC for another year)
Dorothy’s story is far from unique. This is what happens when we really focus ourselves upon the priority of a new generation of Christians. I’m recommending that next year our entire Annual Conference be focused upon the single priority of empowering a new generation, that any reports be made exclusively by those under forty, and that every church send lay delegates who are all under forty. Jenny and Izy are in every congregation. We must notice them, nurture them, and empower them for God to use them in giving our church a future. By God’s grace, we will!
Thanks for a great Annual Conference.