Bishop David Graves recently commissioned a new task force on church planting and revitalization, asking the Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Lentz to serve as its chair. The group has been meeting around three objectives: planting new United Methodist Churches in areas where there are not UMC churches, strengthening churches nearest to those areas, and inviting all the churches of the Alabama-West Florida Conference to experience revival and renewal in Jesus Christ. The task force is studying the conference’s statistics and the growth of these communities as they contemplate how best to make more disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
In their first proposal, which has been accepted by the cabinet, there is now a system whereby members of disaffiliating churches who wish to stay United Methodist and now feel that they are without a church home can transfer to the conference’s general roll. Once a United Methodist is on the general roll the conference can help transferring members find an existing church to join or help them plant a new one. There is a quick link on the conference website’s home page that many have already utilized
The task force has many more meetings scheduled and is excited about the future of the annual conference. “Somehow in the midst of this chaotic and challenging time of change and disaffiliation, God has also opened up new windows of opportunity to plant and revitalize churches,” says Dr. Lentz. “We are renewing our commitment to making more disciples of Jesus Christ. And we believe that God is calling the Alabama-West Florida Conference to new and abundant life.”