Dear Florida GMC Family,
We are very excited about our first-ever Florida GMC event this coming Saturday, September 9, 2023, at New Hope Church in Brandon. The event is called Homecoming, and the theme is simply: Welcome Home! We have close to 800 people registered which will make it a standing-room-only event in the sanctuary. There is an overflow area if folks want to be able to spread out, but you won’t want to miss the two plenary sessions led by Seedbed Sower-in-Chief, J.D. Walt. These sessions will be a powerful time of Holy Spirit-filled inspiration, prayer, and worship. The two plenary sessions will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page. Search for “Florida Provisional Conference of the GMC.”
At Homecoming we will also introduce the Cabinet of the Florida Conference and celebrate our huge class of candidates for ministry. Lastly, we’ll announce the dates and location of the convening annual conference!
Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing some thoughts to help set expectations in our Florida Provisional Conference of the GMC. Author Brene Brown says, “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.” I’ve always found that to be true. If we can be as clear as possible on the front end, it helps everyone to move forward on the same page and be aligned missionally.
I want to help everyone begin to be on the same page about presiding elders. Florida is blessed to have an amazing Cabinet of leaders. For this season, Florida has chosen to have presiding elders who also serve churches. Our presiding elders receive a small stipend and some reimbursement money to help them carry out their duties. They each have responsibilities of leading a church as well as shepherding the churches in their district. Please remember that they are working extra hard between two demanding callings.
We’ve intentionally made districts smaller than what you’re used to. Each district will eventually have approximately 35 churches. As the Florida GMC grows, if needed, we will add more districts. Smaller districts allow the presiding elders to serve a church while also having fewer churches and pastors to care for.
Presiding elders are similar to district superintendents in some ways. In other ways, they aren’t. Here are ways they are similar:
- They’re the chief missional strategist for their district
- They supervise the clergy in their district and are responsible for holding them accountable to our Book of Doctrines and Discipline
- They are the point person for handling the process for when a pastoral change is needed.
- They authorize charge/church conferences and can either preside over them or designate another elder to do so.
Here are some ways they aren’t similar:
- I’ve asked them to be the “pastor to the pastors” ensuring our clergy have a spiritual shepherd
- They likely will not be able to preach in many churches in their district as they have a church they lead
- When there’s a problem at a church that requires help, they will triage it and then I’ll step in to help since I’m full-time and they have a church to serve.
- Their main jobs as part of the Cabinet are to assist me with ensuring we reach our vision of every leader being effective and every church being vital through shepherding, connecting, and equipping churches and leaders.
Our Cabinet began its terms of office on September 1 except for the South District Presiding Elder, Tim Carson, who will start on November 1. Until November 1, Conference Administrator, the Rev. Nako Kellum, and I will cover the South District. Your first point of contact for questions and issues should be your presiding elder. Here are the email addresses for the Cabinet:
- Jay Therrell, President pro tempore: email@example.com
- Nako Kellum, Conference Administrator: firstname.lastname@example.org
- North District Presiding Elder, Mike Fordham: email@example.com
- Central North District Presiding Elder, Patti Thue: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Central South District Presiding Elder, Corky Calhoun: email@example.com
- South District Presiding Elder (beginning Nov. 1, Tim Carson: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senior Administrative Assistant to the Cabinet, Julie Bullerdick: email@example.com
- Phone number for the Florida Conference of the GMC: (904) 274-0853
Lastly, a word about charge/church conferences. Global Methodist Churches have charge/church conferences to accomplish the major business of the church including, but not limited to the following:
- Changing the salary of the appointed clergy.
- Electing new officers/committees/teams for the church.
- Adopting a new leadership structure.
- Certifying candidates for ministry.
- Removing members from the rolls.
- Selling, purchasing, or mortgaging property and borrowing money.
We are still in a transitional season right now. We will have as many as 50-70 more churches joining the Florida GMC in December/January. Some churches need a charge conference right now to adjust the pastor’s salary or elect new leaders. Others are choosing to make do with what they have until next year.
In 2024 we will have a regularized system for charge conferences, but if you need one this fall, please email your presiding elder to request a date. Please remember it must be advertised to the church at least ten days in advance, including two Sundays. The presiding elder may choose to preside, or s/he may appoint someone else to preside in their stead (including the appointed pastor of the church if it’s a minor issue).
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. We’re all on a team together and ready to help in any way that we can. God bless you!
All God’s love,
President pro tempore