The Power of Positivity


bibsheadslap-1-1by Kim Shockley My husband was telling me the other day about a podcast he listened to that was talking about the natural tendency of our minds to go to negative thoughts when we let our minds wander. I’ve experienced this!  I can’t count the times that I’ve been going to a consultation and realize as I’m traveling that I’m actually thinking about how awful the experience might be.  Whether I feel I’m unprepared, or the people I’m going to meet won’t be receptive, or something equally terrible that might happen!  It’s sort of a spiraling down of negative thoughts that puts us in bad moods or fearful attitudes.  The really funny thing is that the more negative my thoughts, often the more positive the experience – it’s a God-inspired Gibbs head slap!  Who knew that this was a universal human tendency! As I was thinking about this my heart turned to Psalm 121:1-2 -

I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

How often do I need the help of my relationship with God to remind me to look to God for the positive thoughts?  Every time I find myself spiraling down, I’m learning to “lift up my eyes” sooner rather than later.  In the midst of my negative thoughts I pull myself back and begin to pray that God will use me in the work I have to do. As maturing Christian disciples this odd little human tendency becomes an opportunity to see how God wired us to rely on our relationship with God.  So often, when our lives are going along just fine we drift away from that closeness with God that we are supposed to desire.  But the drift itself is meant to pull us close!  What a marvelous way to think of how God designed us with a tendency that we can use to pay attention to God’s work within us.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace.

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.