During the 2012 Session of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster issued three challenges to the churches of the Western North Carolina Conference. Lay and clergy members of the conference returned to the more than 1,100 local churches with the message and the challenges, shown below.
First: that every local United Methodist Church of Western North Carolina will discern, design, and implement at least one new mission outreach project during the coming year. There are no limits to what might be done in the name of Christ Jesus either in the local community where the church building is located or in other parts of the world. The challenge is to be engaged in faithfully living out our discipleship and responding to the Great Commandment to love God and love neighbor in concrete and specific ways.
Second: that every local United Methodist Church of Western North Carolina will have at least one more profession of faith in 2012 than the church had in 2011; and at least one more in 2013 than in 2012. There are people in every community who have not heard, seen, or experienced the good news of God’s love, mercy, and grace, and we, as the Body of Christ, are sent to share that Gospel. The challenge is to be engaged in faithfully living out our discipleship and responding to the Great Commission to “go” and to “make disciples” of Jesus Christ.
that every local United Methodist Church of Western North Carolina will read, study, teach, and embody the second sermon in the standard collection of the sermons of John Wesley. The Almost Christian is Wesley’s invitation for all of us to prayerfully reflect on what it means to be a fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Whether in Sunday School classes, small group discussions, Bible studies, or sermon series, the Bishop challenges the people called Methodist across the conference to dig deep into our roots and heritage and our identity. [Wesley Online Center: Sermon 2