By Rev. Matt Ashley, South District Missional Strategist and Superintendent
Twenty-nine churches, plus extension ministries and community partners, and lots of wonderful people. That is the South District.
From metropolitan Tucson to mountain towns like Kearny and Duncan and border communities like Nogales and Douglas, our churches and people are in ministry all throughout Southern Arizona. Together we feed the hungry, clothe the needy, care for the sick, provide hospitality to immigrants, and share God’s vision of justice for all people with our communities and the world.
It has been my privilege and blessing to spend this first year getting to know the people, the churches, and the ministries of the South District. The pandemic has made that challenging, and I have many more of you to meet and get to know. I am so grateful for the science that went into developing the Covid19 vaccination I received, in part because it frees me to worship and fellowship with you in person.
Over the next year I’ll continue to get to know the people, churches and ministries of the South District better. I also want to work with you to develop a compelling vision for ministry in the South District. What kind of life together is God calling us to?
What are your hopes and dreams and expectations for the South District? What kind of missional life is God calling us to? Who are the neighbors we need to advocate for? What ministries do our communities need, and how can we work together to answer those needs? How can we fellowship and celebrate God’s goodness together? How can we best order our life together?
Are we outwardly focused or inwardly focused? If we are outwardly focused, then our priority is loving and serving our neighbors so they too will come to know the love of Jesus Christ. If we are inwardly focused, then our priority is serving ourselves and getting what we want out of church. Which is Jesus calling us to be?
What are we doing for children and youth in the South District? is investing in the lives of young people our priority? What would it look like if youth ministry was thriving in our district? How can we get from here to there?
How can I help you and your church? My hope and goal is to advocate for you and support you in equipping the church for fruitful ministry. How can the district support our local churches in ministry?
Paragraph 661 of the 2016 United Methodist Book of Discipline says that a district may “organize to develop, administer, and evaluate the missional life, advocacy needs, and ministries of the Church in and through the district.” What is our vision for ministry in the South District?
If you have ideas, I want to hear them. Please email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening –