I hate to sound so cheerful but…
Just finishing the annual conference in South Atlantic. What a great two days! The host church (Lakeland Light & Life) was full of pastors and delegates for two days of evidence of this new thing happening among them.
This conference doesn't spend a lot of time at their annual meeting on administrative work that committees can do better, instead they spend their annual conference time on urging each other on to good works and to telling testimonies of God at work:
God at work in new elders…we were pleased to ordain 6 ministers in 3 different languages. Each testimony from them was an intriguing, individual story of God's tender pursuit, and of God capturing them with an imaginative vision of how to invest their lives in ministry.
God at work in 4 new Ministerial Candidates…all 4 vibrating with compelling evidence of His hand upon them, pulling them toward this redemptive task.
God at work through creative community ministries funded by conference grants… Last year's grant recipients reported on the ways they had used the funds given for outreach ministries.
Superintendent Darrel & Peggy Riley consistently push the conference to stay on task at annual conference time: keep focused on mission and ministry.
The 4 major groups: Brazilian, Haitian, Spanish-speakers and Anglos, don't sit in separate groups throughout the sanctuary. They mix it up, sitting by their friends and ministry colleagues, often not with their "own" group. It turns out the the Free Methodists are "our" group.
The result of these two days was an enthusiastic merging of our hearts in gratitude that God has let us do this ministry together.
Go South Atlantic Conference!