United Methodist Bishops Take Significant Steps to Place Strong Focus On Making Disciples, Transform

Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church
Bishop Roy I. Sano Executive Secretary
100 Maryland Ave. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 547-6270

Nov. 9, 2004

Contact: Stephen Drachler
(615) 742-5411 office
(615) 456-4710 cell

United Methodist Bishops Take Significant Steps to Place Strong
Focus On Making Disciples, Transforming
World During 2005-2008 Quadrennium

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. United Methodist bishops are taking steps to place an extraordinary focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ and transforming the world during the 2005-2008 quadrennium.

Meeting at Epworth by the Sea, a church-owned retreat center on the southern Georgia coast, bishops from the United States, Africa, Europe, and Asia affirmed a one-and-a-half-page strategy document listing steps they will begin taking to assume a larger leadership role across the church.

"We are making it clear that bishops are in alignment with the mission of the church," said Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, of Houston, who is president-elect of the Council, following the meeting.

One hundred thirty active and retired bishops, including 22 newly elected bishops, spent the bulk of the Oct. 31- Nov. 5 meeting in small and large group discussions on the strategy. Daily worship focused on the mission, unity, and role of bishops as leaders of the church.

Retired Bishop Kenneth W. Hicks of Little Rock, Ark., stepped to the microphone during the final discussion of the strategy and declared he was "tickled as a pig with two tails" with the approach the council is taking.

Each active bishop will prepare a one-page summary of their plans for disciple making in annual (regional) conferences. These plans will be shared during the Council's May 1-6, 2005 meeting in Washington, D.C. Summaries are to include methods for measuring results and suggestions on how active and retired bishops can be supportive and accountable to each other.

Other elements of the strategy include:

  • Continuing the council's emphasis on Children and Poverty and the funding appeal related to Hope for the Children of Africa throughout the 2005-2008 quadrennium.
  • Examining ways to effectively use the teaching plan offered by the Council during the Episcopal Address at the 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh. Bishops said the plan would support their commitment to making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  • Expanding the use of best practices seminars that was initiated at Epworth by the Sea.
  • Developing a multi-media presentation to effectively explain and interpret the Council's leadership effort in annual conferences and across the world. The presentation will be a "biblical and theological vision" reflecting images from worship during the November 2004 meeting, the Council's teaching paper on security, its address to the General Conference, and the Book of Discipline's statements on disciple-making.

The Executive Committee was directed to outline plans for implementing and creating ways the council will be accountable at the spring 2005 meeting. A planning team is being created to implement the steps outlined in the strategy document.

Bishop Bruce R. Ough of Columbus, Ohio, a member of the team that coordinated development of the strategy, emphasized the document "is not the final word. It expresses the spirit of unity and communicates the essence of where we are headed."

Bishops will share the strategy with district superintendents and local churches. The council's executive committee will share it with general agency secretaries and with the members of the denomination's new Connectional Table before they meet in early 2005. It will also be shared with the denomination's seminaries.

Latest News

Daily Digest - December 11, 2018

Faith leaders struggle to bring hope to migrants; Bishops' website spotlights One Church Plan; Judicial Council sets February docket
U.S. Border Patrol agents and officers from the Department of Homeland Security advance toward United Methodists leaders and organizers of a march calling for migrant justice as the marchers kneel on the beach at the fence between the U.S. and Mexico in San Diego.

Faith leaders struggle to bring message of hope to migrants

More than 300 faith leaders — including United Methodists — walked to the border wall in San Diego to bring blessing to people in Tijuana.
General Church
Members of the 2016-2020 Judicial Council. (From left) Front row: Deanell Reece Tacha, N. Oswald Tweh Sr., the Rev. Luan-Vu Tran. Back row: Lydia Romão Gulele, Ruben T. Reyes, the Rev.Øyvind Helliesen, the Rev. Dennis Blackwell, and the Rev. J. Kabamba Kiboko. (Not pictured, Beth Capen)  Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

Judicial Council sets February docket

Docket items include the first administrative appeal to come before the denomination's top court, but no reconsideration of Traditional Plan ruling.

Sign up for our newsletter!