Mobile App for iOS and Android discontinued.

Effective immediately we have discontinued our mobile app for iOS and Android.   At some point in the future the Conference may reexamine the need for a mobile app platform, and gauge if there is sufficient interest to warrant the launch of a new mobile application for United Methodists here in Arkansas.   Thank...

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A short but important list of books just for United Methodists

Growing as a follower of Jesus Christ is a lifelong journey. In addition to the support, encouragement, and teaching we receive from our United Methodist congregations, wonderful books are also available to help us grow in our discipleship. Bible John Wesley, historic founder of the Methodist movement, famously called himself “a person of one book,” the Bible. The voracious reader and prolific writer understood there is no book nearly as important to our spiritual growth. As we seek to grow as followers of Jesus Christ, it is important that we read and study the Bible. The Wesley Study Bible (available in Common English Bible and New Revised Standard Version) contains helpful resources for better understanding scripture and living into our Methodist heritage. Footnotes on each page illuminate the text of the Bible, often referencing John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible. Additionally, short articles about “Wesleyan Core Terms” introduce important concepts, while brief “Holiness of Heart and Life” reflections by pastors help us apply those concepts to our lives. Beliefs John Wesley called early Methodists to a way of faithful living, to “watch over one another in love,” and to grow in their love for God and neighbor. Several books help United Methodists apply those principles today. Three Simple Rules is available in several languages. Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living (French | Spanish | Korean | Portuguese | English) introduces us to John Wesley’s General Rules for early Methodists, summarized as “Do no harm,” “Do good,” and “Stay in love with God.” This little book encourages us to use those rules as a guide for daily living. Five Means of Grace: Experience God’s Love the Wesleyan Way introduces another important Wesleyan concept, the means of grace. This book explores five practices Wesley named—prayer, searching the Scriptures, the Lord’s Supper, fasting, and Christian conferencing—and how practicing them enriches our faith journeys. Similarly, Five Marks of a Methodist: The Fruit of a Living Faith looks at what Wesley identified as five characters of a Methodist—loving God, rejoicing in God, giving thanks, praying constantly, and loving others. Top 10 United Methodist Beliefs explores what we believe about the Bible, grace, repentance, the church, a life of faith, and more. It’s not a book, but The Quadrilateral Game: A Wesleyan Trivia Challenge for All Ages provides an opportunity to learn (or show off) while you play! This fun series of 44 games for PowerPoint offers levels for children, the family, youth, and an advanced level for those in the know. The Quadrilateral Game offers an opportunity to learn while you play. Singing and devotions United Methodists sing our faith. Since the days Charles Wesley, the hymn writer of the Methodist movement, we have been reading and singing hymns and songs as part of our private and public worship. Your church probably has copies of The United Methodist Hymnal, Mil Voces Para Celebrar (Spanish edition), and/or Come, Let Us Worship (bilingual Korean-English hymnal) to use in worship, but they are also great resources for individuals. In addition to the hymns, these volumes contain helps for leading private or family worship, prayers for different seasons, and more. Did you know there is a version of The United Methodist Hymnal for your iPad? The Upper Room Disciplines is another wonderful aid for private prayer....

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Being an Evangelist is everyone’s job

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said,“Here am I; send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NRSV) While the word evangelism may have its Greek roots in the proclamation and sharing of the Good News, one is more likely to see evangelism listed as a department, committee, or “ministry” in congregations today. Evangelism has become synonymous for marketing—a line in the budget to pay for inclusion in the telephone book’s yellow pages (do those actually still exist?) and for the advertisement in the local newspapers’ Saturday Religion Page (which is only read by church folks!). But evangelism is supposed to be personal. For years now, surveys and research have shared that marketing and “a visit from the pastor” are not enough to convert unchurched folks into church members, much less vital disciples of Jesus Christ. Through the grace and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, it is disciples who make disciples. And that requires vital congregations focused on disciple-making and disciple-equipping. It requires every one of us, in our own way and through our own giftedness, to answer God by saying,“Here am I; send me.” However, we currently seem quite squeamish about fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission for us. At the 2016 Grow By One Summit held in Little Rock, keynote speaker Kay Kotan shared that the average United Methodist member invites someone to worship once every 38 years. Note that her statistic refers to the invitation to worship invitation to worship, which is only one step toward the making of a disciple. As Christians, we seem to be under the mistaken impression that evangelism is somebody else’s job. While we debate the applicability the “E-word” to our own lives, the May 18, 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review contained an article by Apple Computer’s former Chief Evangelist (seriously, that was his title!) Guy Kawasaki who explains his method of “proclaim[ing] the good news that that Macintosh would make everyone more creative and productive.” In a world of “nones” and “dones” in which our response has been to separate our Sunday identities from our lives in the daily marketplace, the marketplace is claiming the concept of evangelism for its own use. In his HBR article, former Chief Evangelist Kawasaki shares: Many businesses have embraced the idea that customers are potential evangelists; the most ardent of them will spread the word about your company’s products or services without pay. But it’s important to remember that managers—even those outside the marketing department—can be evangelists too. If you’re a leader, you should evangelize for your organization and what it has to offer, and you should feel comfortable playing this role both internally—in break rooms, over e-mail, through collaborative platforms—and externally, at industry conferences and via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In the social age, evangelism is everyone’s job. This article in a business journal convicts us as a people of faith. The author is correct that, “Evangelism is everyone’s job,” and yet we, as Christ’s evangelists, have gotten out of practice. As I read the Harvard Business Review explain the step by step process of creating a culture of evangelism for tech companies in Silicon Valley, I felt that I myself have not risen to the standards and aspirations of corporate “evangelism,” much...

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UMC Bishops call for respectful conversations in time of uncertainty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Friday, November 10, 2017 LAKE JUNALUSKA, NORTH CAROLINA _ United Methodist Church bishops are calling on members of the denomination to engage in respectful conversations amidst growing conflict over political, religious and justice issues in many places in our world. In a pastoral letter released at the end of the Council of Bishops (COB) meeting at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina today, COB President Bruce R. Ough reminded the members that the UMC was a Church which is diverse in its theological understanding of Scripture and Christ’s call in our lives. “Conflict and differing opinions, a natural part of the human and faith experience, come in a variety of forms. We are called to address our differences with authenticity and respectful conversations which enrich our understanding of God and of one another,” Bishop Ough said. The bishops reminded United Methodists about Ephesians 4:1-2 which admonishes us “to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Read the full letter.   ##   Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga Director of Communications – Council of Bishops The United Methodist Church mmulenga@umc-cob.org 202-748-5172 (office) or 585-455-5683...

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Council of Bishops Pastoral Letter

November 10, 2017 Dear Sisters and Brothers in Jesus Christ, Ephesians 4:1-2 admonishes us “to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” All of us are witnesses to increased animosity and growing conflict over political, religious and justice issues in many places in our world in word and deed. We believe this serves to threaten our safety and security. In antagonistic discussions about our faithful witness in the world, we may encounter verbal abuse, disruptive behavior, harassing emails, letters and phone messages, and confrontations. As Bishops of your United Methodist Church, we serve a Church which is diverse in its theological understanding of Scripture and Christ’s call in our lives. Conflict and differing opinions, a natural part of the human and faith experience, come in a variety of forms. We are called to address our differences with authenticity and respectful conversations which enrich our understanding of God and of one another. In recent months, we have experienced these negative behaviors escalating into more aggressive, and violent expressions of hate, prejudice, and anger directed against others. We are hearing of and observing angry words now escalating to actions that are resulting in fear, anxiety, loss of security, and even physical harm. These actions are repugnant to us as your bishops. We renew our covenant to one another to lead as a council and in our respective residential areas in ways that reflect our commitment to do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God. We renew this covenant within the Council of Bishops to engage in holy conversation and Christ-like behavior especially when we do not agree with one another. We call upon all United Methodists, even in the midst of disagreement and uncertainty about our future as a church, to do the same, and to love each other as Christ loved us (John 12:34). In Christ’s shalom, Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President The Council of Bishops 100 Maryland Avenue NE, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20002...

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