Hi Church!

I want to share with you how excited I am for our church, and for our Annual Conference, coming out of the 2023 Session of the South Georgia Annual Conference! It was an inspiring and Spirit-filled experience where we recentered ourselves on our mission of Making Disciples and Transforming the World.

During the Session, I had the opportunity to speak about the values that will shape our conference as we move into the future. Here are the values I believe God is calling us to embody as a church and conference as we move forward into the future:

  • The Future of South Georgia Is Christ-Centered – Jesus is at the heart of all we say and do because in him all things hold together (see Colossians 1:15-20). Over the past few years, we have been consumed by many things, we’ve been distracted by politics, controversy, and disaffiliation, and we have lost our focus. John Wesley would remind us that “We have nothing to do but to save souls.  Therefore, we should spend and be spent in this work.”
  • The Future of South Georgia Is Connectional – We live and thrive in relationships because each of us makes up the many parts that form the one body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12:12). God is calling us to truly live into what it means to be in connection with each other. To be deeply invested in the lives and ministries of the people and churches around us. To laugh, cry, cheer, and mourn together, because we are better when we are in relationship with each other.
  • The Future of South Georgia Is Collaborative – We will share our gifts, skills, and resources for the sake of the Kingdom of God because to whom much has been given, much is expected (see Luke 12:48). Carey Nieuwhof, a church leadership consultant once said, “The future is collaborative.” Being deeply connected to each other will allow us to work together to advance the Gospel throughout South Georgia.  Instead of seeing ourselves and our church as outposts scattered across our conference competing with each other, we need to begin to see ourselves as partners bound together in a network that will allow us to serve and resource each other.
  • The Future of South Georgia Is Compassionate – Led by the Holy Spirit, we respond to the needs of our neighbors by seeking justice and offering mercy, as we walk with humility (see Micah 6:8). God has called us together in the church that we might see and meet the needs of the communities that we serve.
  • The Future of South Georgia Is Kind – God’s kindness leads us to repentance, and our kindness invites others into a relationship with (see Romans 2:4). John Wesley would tell us to, “believe and to speak evil of no one and to put the best construction on everything.” Ya’ll that’s hard, because retaliation, anger, and resentment are easy, but if we choose to live, love, and serve with kindness, I believe that the world will take notice and we will have the opportunity to draw people to Jesus Christ.

The future of South Georgia is Christ-Centered, Connectional, Collaborative, Compassionate, and Kind. These are Kingdom values that help us grow and share our faith as we live out our mission together. I can’t wait to see what God will do through us at Pittman Park and how we might be a part of a mighty move of God throughout the South Georgia Annual Conference.

God bless,
Jonathan Smith
For Jesus. For People. For Community.