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Annual Conference Shepherding Team prepares top goals

Posted: April 3 2019 at 09:04 PM
Author: By Anne Marie Gerhardt


Members of the Rockford District Shepherding Team meet to talk about next steps during a breakout session from a joint meeting with the Annual Conference Shepherding Team at Woodridge UMC on March 16.

On March 16, the Annual Conference Shepherding Team (ACST) and the six District Shepherding Teams (DST), which are made up of both clergy and laity, met at Woodridge UMC to collectively access and share their work over the last year. 

This is the second time the two teams have come together as a group. They first met in March 2018 at Barrington UMC for adaptive leadership training with Consultant Susan Beaumont. The ACST has met eight times for all-day sessions across the conference to continue strategic planning and goal-setting for the NIC while the DSTs have been meeting separately to access the needs within their individual districts. 

At the joint meeting, ACST Lay Co-Chair Liz Gracie shared that from their work over the last year, 15 people came up with 31 goal statements and the team chose the top three for the conference’s five-year strategic plan. She said the meeting together with the DSTs was an opportunity for the ACST to roll out the goals and obtain feedback. After Gracie presented the details and rationales of each goal, each DST met for a breakout session to discuss how to share the information and involve local churches. 

“The meeting with the ACST and the DSTs was productive and hopeful,” said Gracie. “It was encouraging to see the DSTs embrace the goals and begin to brainstorm about ways to implement them in each district. There was good energy and it felt like everyone was eager to get to work for the church we all love.” 

ACST Clergy Co-Chair Rev. Myron McCoy shared that this work began four years ago after the Conference Committee on Finance and Administration (CCFA) looked for guidance amid a declining budget. In spring 2015, a landscape survey identified the areas of focus for the conference. In November 2015, an Annual Conference Special Session was called to receive a report of the survey’s findings. A special task force was approved that later developed a mission, vision, and values statement and proposed an organizational task force. In June 2017, the organizational task force’s ACST legislation was approved. The plan has brought together leaders from the various Conference and District committees, programs, ministries and staff to one table for the first time. 

The ACST will bring legislation to the June 2019 Annual Conference asking for support of the three major goals and strategic plan. 

“After much work and once these goals are approved by the Annual Conference, we are ready to launch and move forward together with the next steps,” said McCoy. “We ask for prayers that the work we are doing and will do helps to energize us to continue to live out our common goal to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” 

The ACST legislation will be released and made available for download by May 2 on the Annual Conference webpage at

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