This fall the Northwest District churches are handling their annual charge conferences in a new way. Their district superintendent, Tom Carver, says that “charge conferences are one of the ways we support the mission and vision of the local church.”
However, the business of the charge conference can be handled rather briefly during the course of congregation’s regular church council meeting. Elders in the area, therefore, have been asked to preside over these events, which frees up the superintendent to pursue a more intentional focus on future plans for ministry with each local church.
Working with Ryan Christenson, the field outreach minister in the northwest part of Iowa, the superintendent is encouraging each local church to answer one question: What is God asking of us now? The discussion that emerges from this question helps the leaders in each congregation address for themselves how they are “helping each other seek Jesus and become more like him.”
The Northwest District website has an archive of the training videos they have used to prepare their leaders for this charge conference season. The effort is underwritten in part with a district ministry budget of $8,100 for 2017. These funds are provided through the apportionment gifts of the United Methodist churches of Iowa.
A narrative budget reflecting the ministries of the Iowa Annual Conference for 2018 is now available on our website. This collaboration of the Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) and the Communications Ministry Team was recently completed and published to help the members of our local churches know more about how we are investing in ministry across the state. The 24-page document describes conference missions and ministries as well as general church apportionments, which are invested in outreach efforts around the world.
The CFA is responsible for overseeing the financial health of the Iowa Annual Conference. Working with the Conference Treasurer and the Administrative Services staff, budget proposals from all boards and agencies are reviewed and recommendations for annual budgets and apportionment formulas are presented to each Annual Conference. Since the approval of the budget at the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference, the CFA has worked with the communications team of the conference to prepare a narrative budget that reflects all of the decisions related to our shared ministries throughout the state of Iowa and in the global United Methodist connection.
This year’s budget for the work of the CFA and related conference staff is $792,097. These funds are made possible through the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches of the Iowa Conference.
Jaymee Glenn-Burns, the Field Outreach Minister serving the Northeast District, has begun a new blog for United Methodist leaders called Bread and Wisdom: Seeking the Way of Jesus. “The United Methodist Church in Iowa,” she explains, “has set the ambitious goal of every congregation implementing an intentional discipleship pathway by 2020. This blog is an invitation to think, pray, discuss, and experiment our way to that goal.”
Each weekly blog centers on a discipleship question. The first installment asked, “Why all the fuss?” More recently, she posed the question, “What is a disciple?”
A Quote of the Week on the Northeast District’s Facebook page supplements the blog. One recent installment was from a new initiative called See All the People.
“For too long,” the website contends, “The United Methodist Church has looked for a quick fix to help guide our discipleship efforts.” We must nurture relationships “with the communities that surround our churches.”
All of this is offered to spur the imaginations of churches and their leaders to fulfill our shared mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The Iowa Conference is investing $13,400 in the ministries of the Northeast District in 2017. These funds are made possible through the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches across the state.
Today marks the closing day of the 174th Annual Conference Session of the United Methodist churches of Iowa and their predecessor bodies. Clergy and laity from across the state have come together at Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines to worship God, celebrate ministry and make plans for the future.
The theme for the session is “Creating Difference-Makers!” Every day, God calls each of us to use our God-given gifts to make a positive difference in our world. This theme directly relates to our shared mission with United Methodist people around the globe to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
A number of ministry decisions are addressed each year during the Annual Conference Session. Budgets are confirmed, clergy are ordained and agency nominations are approved. This year a major simplification and update of the Conference Rules of Order is being finalized.
The Iowa Conference is investing $265,206 in this year’s three-day event with the support of apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state. The Annual Conference Session Committee cares for a wide range of expenses to coordinate the event, including rental of the meeting space, travel costs and honoraria for guest speakers as well as preparation and publication of an official record of actions in the Annual Conference Journal.
A third grader from Colo saved pennies for an entire year to support Change a Child’s Story. Seaton participates in the church‘s education ministry, called WOW, on Wednesday nights. The program provides a meal, music and a Bible lesson for about forty to fifty children and youth each week.
Last year, working with his grandmother, Seaton began saving pennies. On the first day he saved one penny. The second day he set aside two pennies, and so on. He kept this up for the entire year, saving 365 pennies on the last day!
As you can imagine, at the end of the year he had a pile of pennies, and he decided he wanted to give some to the church. He approached his pastor and told him that he had $60 he wanted to give to a project that would help third graders like himself.
“I asked if he liked to read,” pastor Douglas Harding reported. “He did, so I suggested he use his money to buy books for children.” The photo shows Seaton giving money to buy books for Change a Child’s Story one night at WOW.
Change a Child’s Story is a literacy initiative of the Iowa Conference that is giving books—and spending time reading—to children in poverty. Patty Link has been serving as a part-time advocate for this ministry for the last year. Apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state have helped to support her work.
A personal passion for fitness helped to inspire Brady and Maddie Tubaugh to develop an outreach ministry in their southwest Iowa community. The Carson United Methodist Church was featured in the January/February 2017 edition of the United Methodist Interpreter.
In the last few years, a Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) team from Carson has been learning and praying about ministry in the 21st century. They are responding to God’s call for ministry in a variety of ways, building on the passions of church members as they share the love of Christ with the people of their community.
Brady, the church’s pastor, says that “being physically active is our way of being stewards of what God has given us so that we can better serve God in the world.” One member reported in the Interpreter article that he lost 65 pounds as a participant in the workout group during Lent last year.
United Methodist Communications is the agency responsible for the publication of the Interpreter magazine and other resources to extend the reach of the Church throughout the world. Just over 20% of the Iowa Conference budget, made possible through the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches across the state, helps to support the General Church ministries whose stories are told in the Interpreter.
Iowa Religious Media Services (IRMS) recently added some great new resources to their collection of adult Bible studies. Among the DVDs and related print materials are the newest Adam Hamilton study, Moses: In the Footsteps of the Reluctant Prophet, and a new women’s study, Listen, Love, Repeat, by Karen Ehman. IRMS Director Sharon Strohmaier reminds local church leaders that periodic announcements about new resources is a “personal service we provide to churches wanting to do advance planning” in their educational ministries.
IRMS is an ecumenical lending library with over 10,000 DVD, VHS, audio, book, and other resources available for use by subscribers and renters. The ministry provides religious media resources to assist with faith formation and growth of the whole person, including exploration of the Bible and contemporary religious issues.
IRMS staff can provide guidance to you and others in your congregation when you have questions about the various resources they have to offer. Their experience and expertise can significantly increase your satisfaction with the resources you receive. They are there for you to facilitate a successful use of every product they have in their library.
Apportionment gifts of $75,000 from the local United Methodist churches of Iowa helped to support IRMS in 2016. Visit their website to learn how your church can become a subscriber.