Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Mississippi Conference Board of Global Ministries attends training with Center for Mission Innovation at GBGM headquarters in Atlanta
Elaine Schwartz*

On January 18, 2017, members of the Mississippi Conference Board of Global Ministries came together with staff at the new General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) headquarters, located in Atlanta, GA. The new space was specifically designed to inspire mission innovation and a culture of hospitality. This inspiration was evident throughout the day as participants reflected on Global Ministries’ Theology of Mission and discussed “big picture” projects, such as Global Health.

The Rev. Patrick Friday, Wisdom Sharing lead from Global Ministries Center for Mission Innovation (CMI), kicked off the day with an exercise, “Head, Hands and Heart.” With this, participants were encouraged to enumerate gifts they possess. They were then invited to envision how these could be used in a local ministry context. Participants were impressed with the many assets, gifts, and skills available in one small group. This very practical tool can be taken into any community setting to quickly and easily make connections within the community.

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Participant uses the “sticky note method” of listing her gifts. Photo Cynthia Mack

The Rev Dr. Denise Honeycutt, CMI executive director, shared the CMI charter to intentionality pursue the work of the Spirit, as God leads us into a new mission age, and to creatively explore new mission theologies and practices. CMI will do this by being a forward-thinking and forward-leaning “laboratory,” re-envisioning and redefining 21st- century mission practice with emphasis on being “glocal” (global and local). Participant Marcus Gaut from Hattiesburg, MS, agreed saying, “We need to be passion focused, not program focused.”

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                      Marcus Gaut, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Photo Cynthia Mack

The group then had a lively discussion, led by Dr. David Scott, director of Mission Theology, regarding the “glocal” implications of the Theology of Mission. Conversations ranged around affirmations (what the group thought was going well), resolutions (what could be done better), and aspirations (what is not yet being done, but is needed). Scott said, “Success or failure does not depend upon size or money.”

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The Rev. Kenny McGill and the Rev. Peggy Gibson enter into “glocal” discussion. Photo Cynthia Mack.

The group reviewed some best practices around dependency, partnership, and church growth. One best practice is known as 50/50 mutuality, a way to facilitate a healthy, balanced conversation with mission partners. A traditional approach to mission is often needs-based, providing short-term relief. This new vision of partnership embraces asset-based, long-term development. Partners commit to one another through a 50/50 Partnership Covenant. It’s a covenant to participate equally, 50/50, as the body of Christ by utilizing everyone’s skills and resources. A 50/50 framework prevents dependency and fosters self-sufficiency.

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Participants engage in training simulation. Photo Cynthia Mack.

Ms. Nora Colmenares, Community Engagement lead, and David Logeman, Young Adult Engagement and Community Volunteer associate, ended the event sharing resources with the group, who left the day energized. Participant Connie Walters said, “I got so much more out of today than I ever thought I would.”

HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO

Highlights video by Jennifer Silver

*Elaine Schwartz is a senior operations associate in the Communications unit of the General Board of Global Ministries