GROW events are designed to celebrate and equip congregations as we bring Jesus to the North Central United States & beyond! We aim to GROW: Gather, Retool for ministry, Outwardly focus and Worship the living Lord.
As I have traveled the seven-state region of the North Central Conference I note that too many congregations feel isolated from other churches in the Free Methodist Connection. Training is provided in local District Meetings on a regular basis for pastors, but little is provided by the conference for developing lay leaders. A common criticism of Annual Conference is that there is little time to connect personally and get to know people. Too few Free Methodists have an opportunity to see and hear what God is doing through their peers, often in their own backyard.
“Conferencing” – getting together to pray and discuss important issues, learn from and equip one another for ministry – was viewed by John Wesley as a means of grace, and continues to be so. GROW events are designed to provide conferencing in its truest sense, and within a geography and time frame that allows for greater connection between congregations and leaders within the NCC district structures.
GROW events are designed to address these needs. Once a year following Annual Conference, congregations within each district will Gather, Retool, Outwardly focus and Worship together. These meetings are not meant for pastors and delegates alone, but for all within the district who would benefit from and enjoy GROWing together.
GROW Events will include Worship led by district worship teams, time to gather and simply fellowship, preaching by the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent, seminars and training led by conference and local leadership, open feedback between conference and congregational participations regarding pressing issues of theology and practice (particularly important during years in which General Conference is held), and opportunities to celebrate significant events and achievements led by the Spirit within each district.
The dates for GROW Events are published as part of the NCC Calendar (see website) and as follows:
Team North: October 3, 2009 Metro Chicago: January 23, 2010
Wisconsin: October 10, 2009 S.MN/SD/N.IA: February 13, 2010
Heartland: December 5, 2009 Upstate IL: February 27, 2010
We look forward to seeing you at the GROW event in your district. GROW Events: Celebrating and equipping congregations as we bring Jesus to the North Central United States & beyond!