A Letter to All of the Clergy of the WNC Conference


November 9, 2016 Dear Friends and Colleagues in Christ: This letter is a personal word I wish to share with all who serve the Church following the results of our national election for President of The United States.  It is a word that I share with those who have been a pastor for years, and it is a word that is offered to those who are beginning their ministry. The election of Donald Trump as President elect has created numerous speculations and uncertainties regarding our national future.  In this moment of political transition it is natural for us reflect on the role of the Church.  For some, the voice of the Church may have appeared diminished over recent years, yet this moment in time calls us to reflect on how we will be Light in a world filled with fear.  How might we be “salt” in such a moment as this?  My letter to you is not a political letter, it is an invitation for you to think of how we will be the Church, reminding others of whose we are and who we are in the world – the Children of God. How can we claim the power of Jesus at this time? As we prepare worship for this coming week, we have an opportunity to remind our congregations of the importance of being in God to serve the world, rather than simply ministering in the world trying to serve God.  We can remind one another that we are the people of Christ by pointing others to God by our conversations, by our actions, by living the Three Simple Rules, and staying close to God.  Simply experiencing the means of grace without being graceful toward others will not be enough.  We can remind others that God is with us; the God of the universe. Through worship and prayer we can invite our church members to remember that every conversation becomes a moment to remind the world that the Children of God are among us, calling us to a greater Kingdom.  We will only have the energy to proclaim God if we find the fuel and energy to do so by immersing ourselves in the means of grace.  I share this simple letter with you as a means of pointing us toward conversations with our church members that will make a difference through our own courteous behavior and practicing the means of mercy.  While it may seem like a simple thing to do – to remind others that we are the Children of Light – it is a profound opportunity to point others to the ultimate will of the Creator God under whose providence we live. Thank you for your service, your ministry, and for your witness – both in word and behavior.  I am grateful for you. With Hope in God, Paul L. Leeland

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 hfleming@wnccumc.net.


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