In the realm of Conference Operational Teams, Directional Teams and Task Teams, a term has emerged that has been shortened to just L3 Teams. The meaning of an L3 Team is short for a team that loves, learns and leads.
These teams are doing the work of our Conference providing the process that spreads the Gospel for God’s kingdom. As leaders of the Church, clergy and Lay, the three words that makes up the meaning of an L3 team is the basis of all the work we do as Christians.
In the secular world, the use of the term “L3 Team” may not be used at all. The circles of loving, learning and leading could be called by other names. Whatever the terms used may be, the process is still the same in having a team that loves its mission, learns about the mission and then leads people into the mission and getting results that are measurable. This could be true about a sports team, a group of builders, a group of scientists or any other team.
Let’s use the example of an athletic team, perhaps a football team. The players and the coach must have a passion and a love of the sport and a desire for success. The coach next teaches the players. The players then learn the system the coach is teaching. Finally, the team must be led by the coach during competition and, hopefully, winning results will come forth because of a team effort. Thus Loving, Learning and Leading.
Bishop Wallace-Padgett is in the process with the North Alabama Conference of leading the many groups of the Conference into the loving, learning and leading process. The results of her leadership will return the metrics of the Conference into positive metrics in average worship attendance, professions of faith, baptisms and other growth areas. Also, she plans to return the conference into a pattern of growth instead of decline, which is where the church has been for many years.
The people of the United Methodist Church are still in love with the Church they attend, but as a denomination we have stopped learning and leading. Many say the church as we know it will go away and will no longer exist years from now. Personally, I find this report way out of the realm of reality as Methodism has been in existence for over 275 years. The United Methodist Church will not just go completely away, though it may look different than it does now and has in the past.
The United Methodist Church is now a worldwide church and much growth will come from areas of the world of which we have never heard. We should take the lessons learned from ants. Ants live in colonies and though there are ants all over the world, they love, learn and lead in the colony where they are located. They work together making their colony the strongest it can be. This is the example we should take as the local church. Like ants, take care of the church and community through loving, learning and leading where we are. It’s OK to think, support and even worry about areas on the other side of the world, but not to the point we neglect the people around us. It’s now coming clear to many, the mission field in now on the other side of the church door we attend, not across the world. This is where the loving, learning and leading needs to take place.
An area that has been neglected in our churches is the work of the local church Lay Leader, who is not the Lay Member to Conference. I know many times the same person may wear both hats and that’s ok. Yet, in looking in the Book of Discipline these are two separate positions of lay leadership. Each has a different job description.
In discussions between the Bishop’s Operational Team and the Lay Ministry Team, it was felt that the local church Lay Leader is an important leadership position that needs attention in the form of training and involvement.
There is a website that I find really helpful in this training at www.umcdiscipleship.org . Here a recorded webinar is available called “Local Church Lay Leaders/Lay Members to Annual Conference: What’s My Job?”
To access the free recording of this 50 minute webinar originally held on Feb. 2, 2017, go to www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/local-church-lay-leaders-lay-members-to-annual-conference-whats-my-job-2017. Once you get to the site, click “Register for the Webinar Recording" and follow the instructions to watch the seminar. There is no charge for this training.
L3 teams are a must in our Conference for future growth and for the legacy of the church.
A reminder the Annual Conference will be held June 4-6, 2017, in Huntsville at the Von Braun Center. Everyone is welcome. The District PreConference meetings are coming up in late April and early May. The dates of the PreConference Meetings are listed on the Conference website.
The Lay Ministry Team hopes to see you at Annual Conference this year.
Blessings of Peace,
Conference Lay Leader