Living Our United Methodist Beliefs – This course will explore the special gifts of theology, witness, and organization that The United Methodist Church brings to the church universal, how we got where we are today, and how our distinctive emphases are still needed in the 21st-century church. Participant textbook: Living Our Beliefs: The United Methodist Way by Kenneth L. Carde
The course is scheduled for Wednesdays, September 15, 22, & 29. You will receive a Zoom link closer to the class.
Evening Class (you will need to commit to all three sessions)
(all times are Arizona time)
Participants are responsible for purchasing and reading the text in advance of the course. Participant textbooks are available from Cokesbury.com. You might also find Kindle and printed versions from Amazon.com. If you have any questions contact Betty Stewart, email@example.com.
Click here to register. Cost is $15 per participant
Click here for Lay Servant Ministries Training in the Desert Southwest Conference
Class Leader: Pastor Phil Smith
Phil Smith is the son of a United Methodist preacher in rural Wisconsin. At the age of twelve he was prompted by the Lord to be a missionary on behalf of the church. He thought it unusual because he was a poor student and knew he could not make it through college let alone seminary. He sought to make the best of what he had by helping wherever he could whether Sunday school teacher, youth group president or choir member. He made an attempt at university but for the lack of purpose failed miserably. But dream remained.
Then in his twenties, he found Chicago based a para-church organization in whose purpose he could share. It was during the civil rights upheaval. The organization that believed that the church has a major role in reformulating communities by giving them the methodologies and tools to help themselves in revitalizing their own communities. He saw that as a meaningful mission and went on staff. He learned many tasks from printing literature to teaching seminars. It was there he met his Beverly who also was on staff. With that organization they served in many facilities in the US and Southeast Asia. Their desire was to serve God and the church with whatever talents they had. They added two boys to the family while with that organization.
They left that organization when the organization changed its direction and moved to find what the Lord had next. It was by chance they discovered an opportunity to serve as volunteer house parents to missionary children in Kathmandu Nepal. While there, Phil discovered that which was missing from his life, that was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It was at that moment that he realized that the Lord had a definite purpose for his life. They also adopted a 16 day old Nepalese baby girl.
Upon returning to the US, he searched for a mission group who might send he and his family to Asia to serve God as missionaries. Both Phil and his wife were teachers though Phil was not formally taught to teach. It was God who was his professor. They were accepted conditionally on a two-fold requirement. One that they would attend a Bible college of their choice and two, they would be willing to raise their own support. They agreed to both, but upon completion the college course, the organization turned them down. With no where else to turn, they asked the Lord what was next.
The Lord revealed a church that was badly in need of a pastor and that began Phil’s journey as a pastor. They served this little church and moved to an inner-city ministry to the poor. It was at that time that Phil became lay speaker of the United Methodist church. God allowed Phil to become a full-time local pastor of three charges in southern Ohio. From there the Lord led him to become a Free Methodist pastor in rural Appalachia. His mission field was not across great waters, but across high mountains to Eastern Kentucky. He also served in churches in Alabama and Florida before retiring.
You are aware pastors never retire, neither did Phil and family, Phil has volunteered to work in a variety of churches on their children’s ministry, their prayer ministry, their adult education programs. He is still in ministry as you will witness. The thing Phil wishes to convey is that ministry has to start somewhere and it is usually in the heart and mind of a believer. For Phil it started with a vision and trust that God knew who He was calling. It is the church that supplies the ‘how to’ and the ‘go forth.’ Just remember that God will not lead you where His grace cannot keep you.