Feb 07, 2023 | John W. Coleman

While the Philadelphia Eagles will spend Saturday preparing to win Sunday’s Super Bowl, about a hundred EPA&GNJ church, district and conference leaders will gather to prepare for something far more important and more lasting: a new and improved Leadership Academy to serve both affiliated conferences.

St. Mark United Methodist Church in Hamilton, N.J

The Leadership Academy Planning Day will convene February 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Hamilton, N.J. While EPA and GNJ each already offer extensive leadership training in various forms, this uniting of their efforts should produce creative synergy and more high-quality training opportunities for members of both conferences.

“Through our Leadership Academy, EPA&GNJ will grow more and better transformational leaders who are leading congregations and ministries to make disciples of Jesus Christ and grow vital mission congregations for the transformation of the world,” writes Megan McKay, Resource Manager, in a letter to registered attendees. “To meet our needs, we are investing time and energy to greatly expand the core learning areas that we cover through the Academy.”

Planning groups will develop three foundational pieces for the design of 30 to 50 different workshops: learning outcomes, sub-themes, and potential presenters. Registered participants have received pre-work to complete before Saturday’s brainstorming sessions, including brief articles to read on leadership development.

The event will offer core learning areas to help develop potential workshop topics:

  • Transformational Leadership—emotional intelligence, setting strategic direction, developing leaders, using biblical models, motivating people, and helping groups resolve challenges and pursue opportunities.
  • Congregational Vitality—worship, small groups, community engagement in mission, making and shaping disciples and creating a spirit of generosity to grow giving.
  • Organization and Ministry of the Congregation—Trustees, Church Council/Lead Team, Staff-Parish Relations, Finance/Endowments, Lay Leader, Lay Member to Annual Conference, Leadership and Nominations, Worship Teams, Compassion Ministry (visitation and companionship), Hospitality, Children’s and Youth Ministries.
  • The Bible and Theology–How United Methodists interpret Scripture, overviews of the Old and New testaments, the Wesleyan teaching of Grace, the sacraments of baptism and communion, history, structure and contents of the Bible.
  • The Who, What and Why of Church—United Methodist church history, organization and polity.
  • Ending the Sin of Racism—the history and biblical understanding of race and racism, implicit bias and privilege, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, cultural competency and steps to ending the sin of racism.
  • Communicating for Participation and Engagement—writing to inform, motivate and engage, reaching new generations of believers through preaching, and preparing and delivering life-changing messages.