Leaders from six Arkansas congregations attend Large Church Initiative Conference

Clergy and lay people from six Arkansas congregations attended the Large Church Initiative (LCI) Conference, held April 28-30 at Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church in Atlanta. Representatives from First UMC Conway, First UMC Russellville, Central UMC Fayetteville, Trinity UMC Little Rock, First UMC Springdale and First UMC Jonesboro participated. The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas (UMFA) provided funding for teams from each of the churches to attend.
The Rev. Roy Smith, senior pastor at First UMC Russellville, said his biggest takeaways from the meeting were messages about extraordinary hospitality exemplified by the host church. He thought the conference speakers, some United Methodist and some from other faith traditions, showed a real desire to help participants use the gifts they are given to make disciples for Jesus Christ.
“Our meals were in a tent in the church parking lot, and it was wonderful to sit with leaders from large congregations throughout Arkansas to interact and discuss what we learned at the plenary sessions and workshops,” he said in a news release. “We talked about how to integrate what we learned there into our local churches. I appreciate that the United Methodist Foundation made it possible for all of us to attend.”
The United Methodist LCI serves churches with 1,000 or more members and/or with an average attendance of 350 or more in worship. It provides opportunities for pastors, staff and congregational leaders to exchange ideas, learn new leadership skills and develop ideas through discussion, study and networking. LCI is a partnership between the General Board of Discipleship of the UMC and the Large Church Initiative Committee.
UMFA manages $130 million in endowment funds and other charitable assets that benefit local churches and other United Methodist ministries. UMFA is one of the largest United Methodist foundations in the country. Founded in 1963, it is responsible for over 650 funds that support United Methodist ministries.