New Year’s Message from the Moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward


For Immediate Release
January 3, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  As we turn to the new year and the approaching February meeting of the called Special Session of General Conference, the moderators would like to encourage delegates to the General Conference, as well as all spiritual leaders in The United Methodist Church, to read and consider the report of the Commission in its entirety. There are key values which ground the report which can be found in both the theological and missional statements included in the report and we commend this work to you for study and reflection. The report includes an important narrative that sets the context for understanding the three plans included in the report, legislation for three different plans, and four appendices.

Following the release of the Commission’s report in July, there have been focused conversations, articles, commentaries, and blogs in a variety of venues primarily about the One Church and Traditional plans.  We would like to remind the church that there are three serious plans included in the report.  The Commission on a Way Forward worked for more than a year on two of the plans - the One Church Plan and the Connectional Conference Plan. In consideration of the spiritual work and leadership of the Commission members, we encourage the church to wrestle seriously with the fact that God does make all things new and not set aside the Connectional Conference Plan as too complicated or too different. Instead, we invite the church to study and consider the Connectional Conference Plan, as well as the One Church Plan and the Traditional Plan, for what the Church might be able to learn from all that has been shared for consideration and discernment.

Additionally, we would invite the church to read the One Church Plan and the Traditional Plan alongside the Judicial Council ruling # 1366 on the constitutionality of these two Plans.  The Judicial Council could not rule on the Connectional Conference Plan because the plan itself calls for constitutional amendments while the other two plans do not call for constitutional amendments.  The Judicial Council rulings do not change any of the three plans, however, their rulings enable delegates to do their best work by helping delegates know where the plans potentially need to be amended and why.

Amid the reading and study of the entirety of the report and the judicial council rulings, we continue to invite you to daily prayer for each of the delegates and for the global United Methodist Church.  Prayer connects us with God, who loves us so much that God sent Jesus so that we all might have life through him.  Prayer also connects us across the denomination, no matter how geographically far or close we live from each other. God’s mission continues, and we can trust God to be God as we continue to pray for a new direction the triune God may have in store for The United Methodist Church.


Bishops David Yemba and Sandra Steiner Ball
Moderators, The Commission on a Way Forward

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.