August 03, 2017
Last week Bishop Fairley and extended cabinet ventured off to Buckhorn Lake State Park to work, pray, vision and plan. In that beautiful place, without mobile phone or data services and very dodgy internet service, we were able to focus on the mission of the Kentucky Annual Conference. In order to stay spiritually focused by stopping our work three times a day to immerse ourselves in prayer and the scriptures. In the opening moments of that retreat, Bishop Fairley reminded us that despite the anxiety and uncertainty in the larger United Methodist Church our mission remains the same and relevant, “to make disciples for the transformation of the world.” Through the course of the next several days, we focused on three essential aspects of bringing to fruition that vision here in Kentucky.
Team: The difference between a group and a team is that in a team a participant is expected to share in the responsibility and ownership to produce results. As an extended cabinet, we discussed how we wanted to and needed to, for the sake of the mission of the church, function as a team. A team mentality, where everyone takes responsibility and ownership, is essential for how we live and lead together for the cause of Christ here in Kentucky. As leaders, we committed to building highly functional teams around our conference and in the districts. Recognizing that it is not the heroic solo leader that makes the greatest impact but rather those who build highly effective teams. In fact, teams are of such great importance that we planned for five regional meetings this fall in which Bishop Fairley will be challenging us as districts, churches, and leaders to do ministry in teams.
Strategic Planning: The second area of focus during our retreat was around strategic planning. Over the past several years the cabinet has been developing a Ministry Action Plan (MAP). With fresh eyes, we look at the conference MAP once again. Our vision is for “Christ Centered Connection - Christ Centered Communities - Christ Centered World.” As we looked closely at our MAP, we realized that we had focused primarily on our internal context but if we desire to transform our communities and world we need to focus more on our external context. We started that work but will need the help of many of you around the Kentucky Annual Conference to develop a full understanding of the world and communities our churches and ministries are operating.
Our strategic plan does not stop with understanding the world we are working in, but it also requires all our churches and ministries to be developing an intentional process to grow passionate spiritual disciples. Our district and conference ministries need to discover those disciples with leadership potential then invest in developing those persons so that they can be sent back into our churches, communities or other mission fields.
Execution: It was not lost on the extended cabinet that the best teams with the best strategic plans are useless without the ability to execute those plans. We acknowledge that this is one of our weaknesses as a conference. After reading the book, “The 4 Disciplines of Execution,” we were able to reflect and begin planning for better execution at the highest levels of conference leadership. The key to efficient execution is accountability. So, we are starting with us. We worked on a covenant for the extended cabinet, a set of standards for the directors and district superintendents, and each of us will have a personal development plan. We are working toward having weekly accountability around our own personal development as well as the execution of our wildly important goal taken from the conference MAP.
We covet your prayers as we continue to form as a team that develops and executes the strategic plan for the Kentucky Annual Conference. We also encourage you to consider how you might be able to form a team in your church, cluster, or ministry setting that develops and executes a strategic plan to make passionate spiritual disciples of Jesus Christ.
Blessings – The Extended Cabinet of the Kentucky Annual Conference
(Bishop Leonard Fairley, Paul Fryman, Joni Way, Gary Gibson, Terry Reffett, Julie Love, James Williams, Eric Bryant, Susan Jinnett-Sack, Mark Gibbons, William Moore, Todd Love, Karen Stigall, John Denham & Kevin Burney)