Ministry redefines, expands mission

9/17/2008

Special to the Advocate
Did you know that there is a new leadership group is on the block, one that relates not only to "congregational" development but to all types of churches and their varied ministry settings in order to better link them to their local communities?

If you answered yes to this question, congratulations. If not, keep reading and it will become clear.

As a result of changes in the way the Mississippi Conference organizes itself, the former Office of Congregational Development has been replaced by the Parish and Community Development Ministries (PCDM) on the Spiritual Leadership table. This change aligns the conference with the 2004 Book of Discipline, which states: “The annual conference shall establish a committee on Parish and Community Development…The committee shall include persons involved in significant type of parish and community ministries, lay and clergy representation of rural town…urban, small-membership churches consulting with…them in cooperative planning and strategy and encouraging and supporting the development of new and established congregations, etc.” (para. 632.5).

Neville Vanderburg of the Senatobia District was selected to serve as chairof the PCDM.

"This is a transformational effort to assist our annual conference in attaining the vision outlined in Acts 2:42-47,” he said. “We want to ensure that through our teaching, fellowship, breaking of bead, sharing, and worshiping God, we are truly transforming people, transforming our churches, and transforming our communities in order to transform the world."

PCDM is functionally organized around three broad areas of responsibility. Those areas and their responsibilities include:

Small Membership Church (chaired by the Rev. Lauren Porter, lporter465@aol.com)
• Small membership church
• Rural church
• Cooperative ministries
• Partnership on Church Improvement Grants
• Parish Ministry Grants

Church Revitalization Committee (chaired by the Rev. Andy Stoddard, astoddard@gmail.com)
• Urban churches
• Transitional communities and churches
• Large church initiative
• Relocated churches
• Merged churches
• Exceptional growth situation

New Church Development Committee (chaired by the Rev. Chris Cumbest, chris@stpaulos.org)
New church plants via:
• Multi-site
• Parenting
• Parachute
• Connectional
• Satellite
• Missional

The Rev. Embra Jackson, administrative assistant to the bishop, will provide staff oversight to the PCDM and ensure their efforts are in harmony with other annual conference activities. Churches that need assistance in one of these areas may contact Jackson at embra@mississippi-umc.org, Vanderburg at nvanderb@comcast.net or any of the chairs.