Once a year the United Methodists of North Alabama meet for Annual Conference, normally the first week in June. Last year the Conference was held at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville. It will be held there this year on June 4, 5 and 6.
In visiting churches throughout North Alabama I have seen metallic stickers or tags that say “God First.” I have seen them on cars, bulletin boards and many other places where a metal tag will stick. At our house at Lake Martin we have one on our refrigerator and on our car. I saw one on the back of a road sign recently and thought it was clever, as many of us look at road signs with little thought to sign, just looking for the directional information the sign provides. What better information to receive from a road sign but information on how to lead our lives, especially as Christians, – God First.
What does God First mean?
I am sure you are thinking, "Steve, are you kidding? Everyone knows what this means. It means put God first in all that we do."
I say, “Yes, that’s what it means, but how literally do we take these directions?”
Rev. Mike Densmore, pastor of the Trinity campus of Alexander City First UMC, asked this question this past Sunday, “Did we Christians on the Monday after Easter just return to our normal weekly routine or did we return with a renewed attitude of the Easter message putting God First?”
Annual Conference is quickly approaching and every charge in the North Alabama Conference has one or more delegates to Annual Conference. These delegates are called “Members of Annual Conference.” The Annual Conference is comprised of both laity and clergy.
Each Lay Member of Annual Conference was elected into this leadership role to represent their charge at Annual Conference. One expectation of Lay Members of Annual Conference is to report back to their local church about the proceedings and actions of Annual Conference.
Many lay members return year after year representing their church and district at Annual Conference. Kudos to them for being regular, diligent attendees of the Annual Conference!
This blog is aimed at the persons who are Lay Members of Annual Conference yet who do not attend every year, or attend very rarely. I wish to offer them some encouragement and maybe even a God First sticker. Because I believe, that if you are elected to this position, or any leadership position in your local church, and don’t participate then God is second, third or worse – for sure not first.
The District PreConference meetings will be held in the next two weeks. It’s your duty if you are a lay or clergy member of Annual Conference to attend your District’s PreConference meeting, as well as, Annual Conference.
This year, to aid the Lay Members of Annual Conference in preparing a report to their local church following Annual Conference, we have developed a worksheet for you to use to take notes and make reflections to share. You can pick up a Lay Member Report Worksheet at your District PreConference Meeting or at Annual Conference. Also, soon after Annual Conference, I will use this blog to post a video to further aid you in giving your Annual Conference Report.
||Gardendale- Mt. Vernon UMC
||Pell City First UMC
||Albertville First UMC
Alexander City First UMC
||Fayette First UMC|
My hope is that all Lay Members of Annual Conference will attend this year. I look forward to seeing you there.
Blessings of being God First Christians,
Conference Lay Leader