Discipleshift Gathers for Day of Innovation

August 12, 2015

By Dr. Larry R. Hygh, Jr.
More than 200 pastors and church leaders from across the California-Nevada Annual Conference gathered on Saturday at the University of the Pacific in Stockton for the Discipleshift Conference. "Today is a day about innovation…we're really talking about a God who is able to do more than we imagined," said the Rev. Samuel Yun, convener for the annual conference's Leadership Development mission focus area. The one-day event was sponsored by this mission focus that is dedicated to raising up, and equipping laity and clergy, for fruitful and faithful leadership in the church and in the world. 
Keynote presenters were Charles Lee, Chief Idea-Maker at Ideation and author of Good Idea, Now What, the Rev. Jerry Herships, Chief Love Monger and Lead Spiritual Entrepreneur of AfterHours Denver and author of the soon to be released book Last Call, and Micheal Pope, CEO of the Alzheimer's Services of the East Bay and Conference Lay Leader Elect. 
Charles Lee, Chief Idea-Maker at Ideation, says, "Innovation is not just about being creative, but solving some problem in the world." Lee's talk was about "Leading Innovation." He added, "Creativity is a subset of innovation…in order to innovate we have to break free from the standards of the world."
The Rev. Jerry Herships is the Chief Love Monger at AfterHours Denver.  AfterHours is an alternative ministry to serve the poor and the spiritually independent. His subject was "Stop Thinking Outside the Box." Herships told the story of his best friend who is agnostic and told him, "It's not that I don't believe in God, I don't believe in your delivery system."  Herships spoke of the ministry's logo that does not have a "cross," or contain the word "church." He added, "In this room, the cross means something…church has a positive meaning."  The positive meaning for church folks does not always translate into the secular world.  "We serve our community, we offer community."
Micheal Pope is the Chief Executive Officer at Alzheimer's Services of the East Bay, and the California-Nevada Conference Lay Leader Elect. She is the current Lay Leader at Concord UMC and her talk was entitled, "A Bold Awakening: Let's Work Together."  She told those gathered, "Job descriptions are great, policy is great, but you have to have vision."  Pope says faith and social change are one and the same. "I want to see my church alive in the world." 
In addition to their TEDTalk style presentations, the keynote speakers also led innovation labs (breakout sessions).  Lee's was "Brand Innovation," Herships was "Passion Into Purpose," and Pope's was "Strategic Planning: Preparing to Lead and Serve."  Additional innovation labs were led by the Rev. Sun Hee Kim, Pastor of Discipleship and Leadership Development at Saint Paul UMC, "Increase Diversity, Increase Innovation," the Revs. Matthew Smith and Linda Dew-Hiersoux, Co-Pastors of The Table, along with The Table Worship Band, "Discipleshift: The Table as a Case Study," the Rev. Ani Missirian-Dill, Pastor at La Trinidad UMC and Community Organizer, "Congregational Community Development: Moving from Models of Charity to Strategic Neighborhood Development," and the Rev. Samuel Yun, Minister of Young Adults at Los Altos UMC and Lead Pastor of Embrace (a church plan in the East Bay), "Hunch: Sometimes That's All It Takes."
The Rev. Greg Bergquist, Conference Superintendent for Leadership Development concluded the day challenging those gathered to "Give up all hope for a better past."  He says, "Life inside the church is no longer the real world."  He added, "We have the will, and ideas, and passion, to do what God has called us to do…engaging real life is the key."