November progress report from the moderators of a Way Forward


way-forward The moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward met on November 17-18, 2016 to continue planning for the Commission’s work. Our hope and prayer for The United Methodist Church is that we will be united and vital, missional and global. As we began, we discussed a number of practical matters, beginning with visas for our international members. We took into consideration issues of security and confidentiality, with the need to build intimacy and trust among commission members, and the corresponding desire of the whole church for consistent information and updating of the progress of the commission. We recognize that we do our work within this tension. We plan to integrate the values of inclusiveness as we shape the covenant by which we will do our work. And we are committed, at the conclusion of each meeting, to be available for questions and answers and to provide a summary of the outcomes. We plan to offer consistent communication in collaboration with United Methodist Communications (UMCom).  A website ( includes the original proposal passed at the General Conference in Portland, Oregon; the mission, vision and scope of the commission’s work; and information about the commission members and moderators. Soon additional items will be added including recommended readings and the contributions of conversation partners across the denomination. We plan to create contexts in each Central Conference and in the United States that will include listening to diverse voices and gaining input. An email address specifically for the purpose of gathering questions and generating ideas will be established and is to be located on the website. As a practice of Christian stewardship, the majority of the meetings will be held in United Methodist facilities. And as an expression of our global nature, one of the meetings will be held outside of the U.S. We also discussed the ways in which the Commission’s agenda is related to the work of several other bodies, including Council of Bishops, the Committee on Faith and Order, the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters, and the Connectional Table, and our need for collaboration with these leaders. We have asked Commission members to prepare for the first meeting by reading the following resources: “Wonder, Love and Praise," from the Committee on Faith and Order; The Anatomy of Peace (Arbinger Institute); and “Be Strong and of Good Courage” by Gil Rendle (Texas Methodist Foundation). The commission members will participate in a conference call in December, and the first official meeting will take place in January, in Atlanta, Georgia. We plan to meet approximately every six weeks to two months. We concluded the meeting by reading Colossians 1. The Apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus Christ is the head of the church and that in him all things hold together; that through him God was pleased to reconcile all things, making peace through the blood of his cross. We prayed for each commission member by name, and for faithful and fruitful work that will be a blessing to the people of The United Methodist Church and our mission with all people. We ask for your prayers; indeed, we depend upon them. God is faithful. The peace of the Lord be with you! Bishops David Yemba, Sandra Steiner Ball, and Ken Carter Moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward The United Methodist Church

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
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