It is my sincere pleasure to invite you, as clergy and laity, to our Alabama-West Florida Conference “Bishop’s Day Apart for All God’s Servants” which is scheduled for March 3, 2014, at St. James United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL from 9:00am-4:00pm.
This year, reflecting the growing partnership with laity who are leading our congregations and serving on District Mission Teams, we are inviting both clergy and laity – All God’s Servants – to reflect on living into God’s dream for each congregation.
Bishop Robert Schnase, a United Methodist Bishop currently serving the Missouri Annual Conference, is a scholar, theologian, leader and popular author. Bishop Schnase was ordained a deacon and elder in the Southwest Texas Conference and is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology. As a writer, he’s the author of Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations (2007), Ambition in Ministry: Our Spiritual Struggle with Success, Achievement and Competition (1993), Testing and Reclaiming Your Call to Ministry (1991), and his most recently released book, Seven Levers: Missional Strategies for Leading Conferences (2014). He worked as editorial consultant for the New Interpreters Bible, and has contributed chapters to Weaver and Stapleton's Reflections on Marriage and Spiritual Growth and Grand-Parenting and the Spiritual Journey.
I am confident Bishop Schnase will give insight and inspiration to us as ministers of the Gospel. As we approach Lent we look to God for renewal and spiritual refreshment because we know the best way to strengthen our United Methodist Church is to strengthen our local congregation. In reflecting on the Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, Bishop Schnase said, “Every Church thinks they are friendly and they are – to the people already there. But Radical hospitality requires looking inward and outward. It stretches us.” We have been blessed by wonderful leaders at this event each year such as Bishop Will Willimon, Dr. Marva Dawn, Dr. Leonard Sweet and Dr. Maxie Dunnam, and now Bishop Robert Schnase.
This does not need to be another seminar where the pastor returns and says, “This was a great event; I wish you could have been there.” This year, we are urging each clergy person to invite a lay member who has influence in your local church so that we may create a sincere conversation on how to live out the mission, vision, and values, within of our church. Bishop Schnase’s teachings are suited for all of God’s servants and would certainly extend hospitality and invitation to all who wish to join us on this day.
To ensure lunch is provided, it is critical to register for this event. To register, click here. The $10 registration fee will cover the cost of lunch and will only be guaranteed to the first 400 participants who register. Once that number is at capacity, you may register to attend at no cost for the event but you will need to find lunch off campus. If you need help in the registration process please call Traci at our Conference Center.
As always, I am very proud of our Alabama-West Florida Conference, for your ministry, and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ you proclaim. May you join me in giving thanks for the words of the Apostle Paul who said, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5).