Northwest District laity and clergy enhance leadership skills at Leadership 2011


Northwest District laity and clergy came together on Saturday, January 22, 2011, to enhance their leadership skills. Hartselle First UMC hosted almost 200 participants for the workshop Leadership 2011, which was developed for clergy, local church committee chairpersons and committee members plus ministry chairpersons and ministry members.

Janet Brookman, Northwest District Lay Leader, welcomed the gathering and gave the opening prayer. Northwest District Superintendent Rev. Mike Stonbraker then shared about future Northwest District and North Alabama Conference events. He noted that on May 20 and 21 the North Alabama Conference will host Hit the Bull’s Eye, an interdenominational event offered throughout the southern United States, focusing on “Moving Congregations from Maintenance to Mission.” This seminar, to be held at Riverchase UMC in Birmingham, will feature Paul Borden and his team of church growth experts. Rev. Stonbraker then introduced a DVD featuring outreach endeavors among churches in the Northwest District.

Brookman says, “You could feel the excitement building as the keynote address for Leadership 2011 was delivered by Rev. Greg Reynolds, pastor of New Vision UMC in Florence, the newest United Methodist Church in the Northwest District.”

Using the workshop title Leadership 2011 as a springboard, Pastor Greg addressed the gathering about Servant Leadership. He shared about what it means to be a servant leader, including specific “how to do it skills” that are part of this role.

“Attendees were so energized and ready to learn in their small group sessions,” Brookman adds.

Participants then dispersed to nine small group sessions. The sessions were then repeated enabling each person to attend two different sessions of their choice. The small group sessions included the following: SPRC (led by Rev. Robert Lancaster); Administrative Council Chairs (led by Rev. John Verciglio); Lay Leadership (led by Rev. Mike Stonbraker); Trustees (led by Jarvis Brewer); Finance (led by Johnny Frazier); Worship (led by Rev. Eric Bell); Evangelism/Outreach/Mission (led by Rev. Robert Sparkman); Children’s Ministry (led by Beth Sanford); and Youth Ministry (led by Chris Montgomery).

Workshop participants came back together for a closing worship service led by Rev. Lillian Eddleman and Rev. Patsy Carlberg. The homily, Using Our “Servant Hands,” was followed by all participants joining together in Holy Communion.

Participant comments included

  • “Connecting with others in similar areas of interest was great”
  • “Both sessions attended offered very practical helps for serving in areas in the church”
  • “Learning about the perspective and duties of my committees was most helpful”
  • “It [the small group session] help me generate some ideas”
  • “Understanding the meaning for being a leader in the church was most helpful to me.”

One participant summed up the general consensus of the oral and written evaluations by simply saying that the area most meaningful was, “Coming together with people who want to grow as leaders in the aspect God has called them to.”

Participants were in agreement that more in-depth study of church office and ministry areas should be offered. The evangelism, outreach and mission ministries were continually cited as areas about which people wanted more “how to” information.

Brookman concludes, “It was clear from participants’ oral and written evaluations that seeds were planted for continuing Kingdom work in the Northwest District. Planning for future educational events has begun.”

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