Senatobia District Challenge


 By Cynthia Laird, Senatobia District Communications  

Senatobia District Challenge
Senatobia DS Rev. Andy Ray addresses clergy and lay.
August is a busy time as the Senatobia District leaders challenge the clergy and laity of each cluster to make "decisions to make a difference."  These cluster rallies, led by the Rev. Andy Ray, district superintendent; Blair Jernigan, district lay leader; Cheryl Denley, administrative assistant and the Rev. John Garrott, district director of Revitalization and New Churches, began on August 4, and will continue through August 18.


Those who gathered at the DeSoto County Cluster Rally at Southaven First United Methodist Church were challenged by Ray to look at where they are, and plan for what they can do now to improve the effectiveness of service in God's kingdom.  He issued the challenge for people to begin taking the first steps to become stronger, more vital congregations that earnestly seek "to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."  These steps include:  set goals and work to improve worship services, remember that reaching others for Christ is priority, work with small groups to disciple and equip Christians to be ready to do their part in God's work to transform the world and support and become involved in missions.  Ray said that if people ever go on a mission trip, they will return changed and have an appreciation for the church resources that many take for granted.  


Senatobia painting
Child's painting displayed at Senatobia district challenge.
Jernigan shared a special painting of a church seen through the eyes of a child. The painting also made the group think about what is really the church.  If the people are not there, then what is the purpose?  Church closings are a sad reality.  Jernigan reminded everyone that they were present at the cluster rally because God has called them to do something.   He encouraged both clergy and laity to step out in faith because God is always with them and will provide for the work He has for them.


Cheryl Denley reminded attendees that they have connections as they serve in missions together. Strengths and weaknesses vary, but as the two work together, more can be achieved for God's kingdom than ever alone.  She spoke of training opportunities, resources and networking that the district and the conference provide.  She encouraged the laity to attend the Lay Servant training to learn and grow in service and connection.

Garrott shared statistics that brought more awareness on the importance of dedicated service in our churches and districts.  The people who the church is trying to reach for Christ are there and it is the church's responsibility to share with them the message of the gospel.


In closing, Ray had kind words to say about the district's accomplishments. He reminded everyone that they must do more, resources are available and leaders are available to help.  The challenge to seek and serve the Lord in a more vital, dedicated manner had been extended.  Now it is up to Methodist Christians to realize the need to be about the Father's business, and to take up the challenge to serve.