Representatives from Six Congregations Attend Large Church Initiative Conference

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (June 10, 2014) – Clergy and lay people from six congregations recently attended the Large Church Initiative Conference at Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church in Atlanta. Representatives from First UMC in Conway, First UMC in Russellville, Central UMC in Fayetteville, Trinity UMC in Little Rock, First UMC in Springdale and First UMC in Jonesboro participated.

Rev. Roy Smith, Senior Pastor at First UMC in Russellville, said his biggest takeaways from the meeting were messages about extraordinary hospitality exemplified by the host church. He thought the conference speakers, some United Methodist and some from other faith traditions, showed a real desire to help participants use the gifts they are given to make disciples for Jesus Christ.

“Our meals were in a tent in the church parking lot, and it was wonderful to sit with leaders from large congregations throughout Arkansas to interact and discuss what we learned at the plenary sessions and workshops. We talked about how to integrate what we learned there into our local churches,” said Rev. Smith. “I appreciate that the United Methodist Foundation made it possible for all of us to attend.”

The United Methodist Large Church Initiative (LCI) serves churches with 1,000 or more members and/or with an average attendance of 350 or more in worship. It provides opportunities for pastors, staff and congregational leaders to exchange ideas, learn new leadership skills and develop ideas through discussion, study and networking. LCI is a partnership between the General Board of Discipleship and the Large Church Initiative Committee.

The Foundation manages $130 million in endowment funds and other charitable assets that benefit local churches and other United Methodist ministries. UMFA is one of the largest United Methodist Foundations in the country. Founded in 1963, UMFA is responsible for over 650 funds that support United Methodist ministries.