Welcome to the Roanoke District!
Roanoke District Office
From the District Superintendent
Over twenty years ago, my sister gave me a piece of art she had created. I loved it as soon as I saw it, even though it had been "homework" for her, a hand study for a drawing class she was taking. Ever since it has had a spot in my office. I've taken it, as sort of an object lesson, to either a council meeting, planning group, or leadership retreat at each of the three churches I've served as pastor since. There is something about the movement of the hands among the threads that speaks to many situations. At one church it became a symbol for what might be described as untangling the many things the church had over time become heavily invested and involved in so that we could best see what was essential. In another the Holy Spirit was moving through the congregation in such powerful and tangible ways that it felt like "hanging onto the Spirit's kite tails". In still another setting the image that most strongly emerged was of braiding the many singular and disparate ministries, events, and groups, into one unified ministry. We were clearly in a time of discernment in each of those settings. Discerning who we were as congregations, aware of our history and past circumstances, knowledgeable about our current realities of ministries and missions, people and finances, desiring to faithfully serve God and follow Jesus that day and into the future; wanting, hoping, needing to gain clarity about what God was asking us to be and do. Our charge conference conversation, attentive to the theme Thy Will Be Done, will focus on your congregation's experience with discernment. The questions that will guide us are:
- How does your church discern God's will? What processes of prayer, scripture, and holy conversation do you use? Do you use this process for all decisions? Some decisions? Few decisions? What other processes do you use: majority rule? Do what we've always done? Those who pay decide?
- Tell me about a time in your church's past when you struggled to know and do God's will. What was hard, challenging, rewarding about that process? What have the fruits of it been?
- Is your church currently in a season of discernment? If so, what is driving it? How is your church being changed by it? If not, does that mean there are no crucial decisions to be made? When do you anticipate that you might use a discernment process? What type of circumstance will call for it?
9 Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we haven't stopped praying for you and asking for you to be filled with the knowledge of God's will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. 10 We're praying this so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; 11 by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; 12 and by giving thanks with joy to the Father. He made it so you could take part in the inheritance, in light granted to God's holy people. 13 He rescued us from the control of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. 14 He set us free through the Son and forgave our sins. (Colossians 1:9-14, CEB)