It Only Takes a Spark…..To Get the United Methodist Flame Going!


I am still in a post Annual Conference haze. Our yearly meeting was busy time. It was a productive time. It was a meaningful time. We have come away from Lake Junaluska some of us pleased with how things turned out and some of us not so pleased. We come away, all of us, returning to our places of ministry and committed to making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. But beyond the elections and beyond the legislation, I find myself grateful for the connection of relationships:  decades-old friendships, new friendships and particularly grateful for ALL of our common life as ministers of the Gospel.

Following Annual Conference, I joined the throng of cars on I-40 and I-26. I had a stop on the way home. I took our daughter at Camp Tekoa.  Between my two children we have been blessed by the ministry of Camp Tekoa for at least 13 years – beginning with its summer day camp when we lived nearby. This year there was a particular connection made with friends and colleagues. The Camp Tekoa Offering this summer is going to the Sharing House in Brevard, NC. Rev. Shelly Webb, Executive Director of the Sharing House Ministry and Rev. James Johnson, Executive Director of Camp Tekoa, are collaborating on a project that not only helps a significant, local ministry, but also teaches our children how important it is to give to others. All of this, because of friendships and connections made long ago.  

I asked James about Camp Tekoa’s efforts to teach campers about caring for neighbors in need. He said that Camp Tekoa started this offering several years ago.  The idea belonged to the camp’s Assistant Director John Isley.  Campers have raised almost $25,000 for the ministries of Haywood Street UMC in Asheville, Camp Op/Blue Tent (Tekoa’s camp that hosts children in the NC Foster Care System), Stop Hunger Now, and this year for the Sharing House in Brevard. I love it! Our children are having a fun at camp AND learning that discipleship, while fun, also means that we are to care for others because Jesus cares for others.   

This is one way we get the connection right. This is one of the things that connects us, still.  Our commitment to Christ, our Wesleyan Heritage, and our Baptismal vows, call on us to bring up our children in faith AND to care for those living in poverty. This year, as in years past, Camp Tekoa is helping all of us to do so. This connection is strong. Thanks be to God!  

Now on to Vacation Bible School…

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.