Council of Bishops President Gregory Palmer is inviting United Methodists to take part in a survey as part of the Call to Action project.
The Council of Bishops and Connectional Table formed the Action Steering Committee in November, in response to the global economic crisis and a recognized need to build on the Church's successes in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The intent of the Call to Action project is to build processes and patterns to help the Church better achieve its mission to "make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world," and which fully integrate the Church's major ministry initiatives, the Four Areas of Focus, into the fabric of the UMC connection.
Key outcomes will include recommendations for ways to reorder or reshape some Church structures and processes.
Bishop Palmer says there is recognition that alignment "is essential to support effectiveness at all levels, especially the local church." He says there will be an independent assessment of the relative effectiveness of structures and relationships across the connection, including general agencies, the Council of Bishops, Connectional Table, General Conference, and the annual conferences.
Concurrent with the operational assessment, a separate research project managed by Towers Watson Consultants is underway – "to identify factors of leadership and support systems that correlate with vital congregational ministries," the bishop says.
"The research anticipates mapping the efficacy and relationships of those outcomes with key functions and activities at the annual conference and general church levels," he adds.
Preliminary data will be available in May.
Bishop Palmer says, "The two research projects and other CTA work affirm that reordering at the general church level must be accomplished not as a top-down initiative, but as a way of repositioning, modeling, equipping, and resourcing that enhances the work of the whole church for the twenty-first century."
Your participation in the initial survey by Towers Watson, to gather data on congregational effectiveness, "will help us assure that we hear and learn from as wide an array of UM leaders as possible," Bishop Palmer says. "Thank you for taking the time and care to enhance research that could inform recommendations for changes or improvements in our life and work for years to come."
The Four Areas of Focus are church growth (Creating New Places for New People and Revitalizing Existing Congregations), global health, elimination of poverty (Engaging in Ministry With the Poor), and leadership development.