An Invitation from Bishop Paul L. Leeland

March 18, 2013


Our deep love for the Church makes it difficult to hear statistics that continue to come from very reliable sources. For the first time since colonial days, according to the Pew Research Center, Protestants account for less than 50 percent of the population. Further, one of every three young adult Americans does not affiliate with any religion. Of course, you have probably recognized this waning influence of the Church within your own community, or even within your own extended family.

Two things encourage me: First, I have confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s redemptive mission will be fulfilled. Second, movements continue to emerge to give hope and a vision of what tomorrow may look like for the Church. I want to invite you to be a part of this conversation. On April 29-May 1, CATAPULT Conference will be held at Christ UMC in Mobile, Alabama. The goal of this missional leadership conference is “to launch leaders into kingdom mission,” by inspiring and equipping you to reach beyond the walls of the church to serve and build relationships.

Once again, CATAPULT offers a great lineup of Community Session speakers who will inspire you to find where God is at work within your community. Those speakers include the Reverend Rudy Rasmus (St. John Downtown UMC, Houston, TX), the Reverend Becca Stevens (Magdalene House and Thistle Farms, Nashville, TN), Rob Wegner (Granger United Methodist Community Church, Granger, IN), Lance Ford (Forge America), and Hugh Halter (Missio).

The emphasis at CATAPULT is action. Because of the high number of registrations in past years, CATAPULT has been able to give back a part of our registration fees in the form of missional grants, which have helped to launch more than 10 ministries within the bounds of the Alabama-West Florida Conference over the last three years. I believe that God will use CATAPULT 2013 to plant even more seeds for movement within our annual conference.

I hope that you choose to be a part of CATAPULT. You can register and find more information at

With Gratitude,

Paul L. Leeland