It has now been 18 months since we made the move out of our traditional office space on Sahara avenue and moved the District Office into a virtual and mobile set-up. Gwen (our Admin Assist) and I each have “office” space in our own homes, and also in our set up through the web. We are continuing to create our system of networking between ourselves and across the district with you.

In our use of the web to create our “office” space, it reminds us of the importance and value of networking. A web can certainly cause one to get tangled up and caught up, but with intentional use, it helps us spread our connections far and wide and with greater ease.

One of our tools is the Microsoft Teams app. As the name implies, it helps to create and function as a team in which we have conversation, create, and share documents and files. We are even able to simultaneously create a document on-line as we talk through a video chat.

One of the things that Teams implies, is the ability to connect and network with anyone and everyone. An important part of creating an effective team is to get the right people in the right positions for the game.  However, a shortcoming of the MS Teams app has been in its ability to invite those outside of the organization to become a part of the team. Though Gwen and I greatly benefit from the use of the Team app in the work we do together, this is a significant limitation and hinders us. Microsoft is working on solving this limitation, and they promise that it will soon be opened and expanded.

We made the decision to move out of our Sahara office for several reasons – the most important one being that we wanted to expand our network and team, moving out and beyond our walls and usual patterns of travel.  As a Superintendent, I have begun to practice what the United Methodist Book of Discipline calls the DS into being – a Missional Strategist (Par 419.1).

          The Church expects, as part of the superintendent ministry, that the superintendent will be the chief missional strategist of the district . . .

In order to fulfill this responsibility, I must be in the field to know the communities and contexts across our district. Missional implies reaching out beyond oneself and one’s immediate and familiar surroundings and connections. Moving out from the office has indeed saved great expense for our ministry, but even more so, it is a continual reminder to me to be on the move, to network and connect with many people in many places.

Notice how the Discipline has called the DS to be chief missional strategist. This really means that all in ministry for Jesus Christ are just that – missional strategists.  So, I ask you – how are you expanding your team, your network of connections, in order to increase your ministry impact?

I am looking forward to our time together for the annual Church Conferences. It is a significant way we network and strategize for our ministry together. I know that as Phyllis (our District Lay Leader) and I travel across our district, we will hear many stories of witness to the faith and how each of our churches is a part of transforming the world through Christ.

Let us be the Courageous Church: Loving like Jesus, Acting for Justice, and United in Hope!

Blessings in Christ,

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