Augusta District Newsletter, 3-18-17
1. North Georgia Conference Week of Prayer: March 19-25, 2017
As the Commission on the Way Forward meets, our annual conference has accepted this week as our specific time to pray for these people and our future. May God find us faithful! At this link you will find a letter from Bishop Sue and other resources for this week: http://www.ngumc.org/PrayingOurWayForward
2. District Website
I am certain that many of you visit the district website regularly! Recently, in a cost-saving maneuver, we have migrated all our info into the conference website. From now on, you can access our most recent newsletters, calendar, and news at - http://www.ngumc.org/agst
3. From the Methodist attic - The mourner’s bench:
4. Why did our apportionments go up?
Years ago, I made an appointment to see my DS (Bob Berrier, in case any of you remember him!) to ask why our apportionments had sky-rocketed. He patiently took out my end-of-year reports from the past two years and placed them side by side. And there it was; it year two, I had lumped all kinds of things into operating expenses that did not belong there. I never forgot that! Now, you can learn from my mistake.
These are the expense categories upon which apportionments are based:
Operating expenses consist of salaries, pension benefits, clergy housing-related expenses, expense reimbursements, current program expenses, expenses related to commercial insurance and other current operating expenses.
Operating expenses (also referred to as "decimal" expenses) do NOT/should not include: HealthFlex insurance expenses, payments on indebtedness, or capital-related expenditures. Also, expenses related to "self-sustaining" activities and local benevolences are NOT considered operating expenses.
5. School of Spiritual Direction
Michael and Beverly Firman, members of the Alleluia community of Augusta, are offering a “School of Spiritual Direction” These school features three, two-week long courses, offered over thirty months.
6. Task and Deadline for all pastors:
The Office of Connectional Ministries has asked for a list of all the churches in the conference that have mission efforts beyond North Georgia, e.g., across the country or around the world. Send me your list by the end of April!
7. Embezzlement! Fraud! Financial Crisis!
Do I have your attention? Every few months churches in our conference face these realities. Scammers have pulled thousands of dollars from us, unscrupulous staff has bilked our accounts, and sometimes, well-meaning pastors have made errors in judgment that they deeply regret.
Two (2) signatures shall be required on all checks AND authorizations for wire transfers or withdrawals from investment accounts.
There should be no more than one operating checking account and one payroll checking account.
Church Credit or Purchasing (“P”) Cards:
While the issuance of “corporate” credit cards is discouraged, it is acknowledged that certain circumstances might necessitate their issuance.
Approved usages: Airline Reservations; Lodging Reservations; Rental Car Reservations; Office Supplies.
(This does NOT include the purchase of electronic devices, such as computers, cell phones, PDA’s, or any equipment purchase over $100)
All other expenses should be paid/reimbursed from the Church checking account, pursuant to an Accountable Reimbursement Plan.
8. From the DS – I continue to hone this document, which I give to those who approach me about seeking candidacy for the ministry. If you would like to send me any of your own wise counsel, I will gladly add it.
So…you want to be a licensed/ordained pastor?
1. Have you a deep sense of God’s calling to the work? If not, when all else is chaos, you will abandon your post. It was said of the high priest, “people do not take this honor on themselves, but receive it when they are called by God.” (Heb. 5:4)
2. Guard your own spiritual well. Seek God’s face in prayer. Abide in Christ. Having preached to others, do not lose your own soul (I Cor. 9:27). Use the “means of grace” to keep yourself close to God – prayer, fasting, Scripture reading, the Lord’s Supper, and fellowship (“holy conferencing”).
3. Preach your convictions. Theological fads and gimmicks come and go; put your roots down deep in the eternal truths of the gospel.
4. Cultivate a “homiletical eye.” Anything can be sermon material, and variety is the spice of preaching.
5. Be a servant-leader. Never shy away from getting your hands dirty.
6. Be a calm, non-anxious presence. Keep your head about you.
7. Look for ways to craft win-win situations. Go for consensus wherever possible. But once you decide a deep principle is involved, take a stand and do not budge.
8. Love people, even those you do not like. “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
9. Boundaries will get you sane; you can say no.
10. Write things down. The dullest pencil is sharper than the sharpest mind. If you did not document it, it did not happen.
11. Do unpleasant chores first.
12. Confront problems (people and situations) early before they fester.
13. Choose your models wisely.
14. Admit when you need help.
15. Refer people to professional counselors when you need to.
16. Avoid the appearance of impropriety. Never meet with a person of the opposite sex alone.
17. People will forget what you made them think, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.
18. Maintain your sense of humor.
19. Know yourself; be brutally honest with yourself and before God about your strengths and weaknesses.
20. Beware the snares of money, sex and power. The monks took vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience for a reason. An older (male) pastor told me, “Don’t touch the gold, the glory, or the girl.”
21. Bloom where you are planted; do not always dream of your next appointment!
22. Beware what you post (or reply to) on social media. It can follow you forever and poison other’s perspective of you.
Yours for the Kingdom,
Augusta District Superintendent
PO Box 204600
Augusta, GA 30907
"Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger." Prov. 29:8
3332 West Cliffe Court
Augusta, GA 30907
P.O. Box 204600
Augusta, GA 30917
(706) 651-8621 Phone
(706) 651-8622 Fax