Communicating through the storm


Today The United Methodist Church is stronger because of the wisdom and insight of our clergy! Early Sunday morning, January 8, 2016, I joined thousands of people who watched their local television station, if they had power, to discover the impact of Winter Storm Helena and to note how many of our local churches had cancelled worship services.  Helena did more than simply dump ice and snow on our area, the storm also created havoc and difficult travel throughout the region as well.  Normally such snow storms create an immediate sense of isolation causing us to take stock of our accommodations and to calculate how we can best wait out the storm. Sunday morning brought somewhat of a surprise.  While many churches had cancelled their worship services, many of our clergy used their wisdom and insight to alert their congregational families and friends that worship would be offered “on-line” through FaceBook or some other media outlet.  It was an amazing thing to see how congregations interacted with their faith communities.  Some offered videos and live-streaming of lessons and sermons.  It was a time when congregational leaders and ministers said “stay warm, stay dry, stay safe, here is worship today.”  It did not escape my attention that there was a sense of family worship and house churches opening themselves to all who would share in giving Thanks and Praise to God in the midst of natural although difficult circumstances.  Here is an example of how the church becomes “nimble” as we adapt to the quickly changing environment. While some may not have had power to participate in these on-line services, and recognizing that not everyone has an interest or ability to engage in technology, the church was reminding us that we are grateful for whatever chain of communication was used to affirm, the announcement of God’s kingdom which is always present in our lives.  It doesn’t matter where we are, we can always be affirm the Presence of God, who is Spirit, and those who worship God, do so in Spirit and in truth. Well done! 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


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