Charge conferences kick off A29

9/18/2007

Editor's Note: Sixth in a series of articles on the A2 Indicators.

By Embra Jackson
Administrative Assistant to the Bishop
Wow! Charge conference season is upon us again. It is very much like football season in that it happens every fall whether we are ready for it or not.  

This year’s charge conference season promises to be one of great excitement as the churches in our annual conference move from the A2 Indicators assessment to the next faithful step, A29.    

Last year each church in our conference was asked to complete the A2 self-assessment. The results revealed that our conference is composed of churches that are striving toward vitality.  

However, some churches realized that they needed assistance, most often in the areas of evangelism, ministries to children and youth and stewardship. To assist churches in responding to these and other areas of need, the office of Congregational Development has developed a ministry response process know as the A29 Plan. 

Similar to A2, A29 includes a four-week Bible study. The title came from West Jackson District Superintendent Willis Britt when he noted that the book of Acts ends at chapter 28 and that the church today must continue to live out its calling as the unwritten next chapter.   

Each church that did not complete the A2 self-assessment last year will complete it this year. Those churches that completed it last year are asked to move forward to the next faithful step by completing the A29 Bible Study and A29 Ministry Plan.

The A2 Indicators and the A29 Ministry Plan are available on the conference Web site (www.mississippi-umc.org). The Bible study is available in each district office on a CD. Churches that need assistance in completing the A2 or A29 process should contact their district office or me at 601-948-4561 ext. 23.   

Churches that are targeted for additional assistance or that are asked to serve as stewards with other churches will receive specialized training through the conference’s Transformational Leaders’ School. This school is in conjunction with the conference School of Congregational Development’s Church Planters’ School and Pastors’ Leadership School. 

Some churches are already on their way to becoming A29 Vital Churches by developing A29 Ministry Plans that indicate how the churches will respond to the areas of need found in their A2 self-assessments.

For example, one church that gave itself a score of one in the area of missions has developed an after-school program for the children attending the school nearby. Another church that scored low in the area of financial stewardship has enrolled in the “Good Cents” training offered by the Mississippi United Methodist Foundation.

In an effort to assist all our churches and pastors, district A29 teams and district superintendents are encouraged to share stories of their journeys toward becoming A29 Vital Churches with me for possible publication in the Mississippi United Methodist Advocate. I look forward to hearing from you.