September 17, 2018
In an effort to better align the work and focus of the Alabama-West Florida Conference, Bishop David Graves, the extended cabinet, and the Compass leadership team (ministry area directors) have released four priorities that will streamline the efforts of the conference. The priorities were carefully crafted over several months and are a result of many hours of exploring all ministry areas.
“It is almost an impossible task to narrow down the fruitful ministry that this conference produces,” said Bishop Graves. “However, for the remainder of the quadrennium, we must focus on what will change the landscape of this conference. When we focus on disciple making, attracting talent, preaching, and adaptive leadership, we are sending the message that we have a clear, concise plan to move forward.”
The priorities read as follows:
We exist to help our local churches and extension ministries by:
• Growing God’s kingdom by making disciples and developing a multiplication mindset throughout the annual conference.
• Attracting and retaining exceptional talent that helps promote a culture of call for clergy and laity.
• Teaching, training, and coaching to support excellent preaching so that people encounter Jesus and live out the Great Commission.
• Being adaptive leaders through uncharted times emphasizing connectionalism and focusing on Kingdom work.
Although this priority list was staff and conference leadership driven, this plan will also help local churches better identify their focus.
“Many churches look to the conference for guidance on priorities and resources," said Rev. Ashley Davis, AWF Director of Connectional Ministries. "This will give them a head start on their ministry. We understand each church has its own priorities depending on the health of the church, location of congregation and financial resources, but we feel that any church can adopt this focus.
"As a new member to the conference staff team, I appreciate the identification of these priorities as it will help me focus my ministry and time. I think you will see a positive change in what resources are offered, who can best help the local church related to a specific topic, and streamlined conference-sponsored events," she said.
Claire Bowen, a lay person from the North Georgia Conference who specializes in on boarding and team building, led a staff retreat earlier this summer. In that session each staff team member identified the components of their work and it became clear that although the work was positive, it lacked focus and clarity.
"It can be so difficult for a staff person to say no to one thing and yes to another," Graves said. "The AWF staff needs to feel empowered to clearly define if the work they are doing or visioning aligns with one of these four priorities. If it does not, we need to take a second look at that particular task.”
The conference priorities will be adopted immediately into the ongoing work of conference staff, the cabinet, and conference leadership.