Options included language-specific programming for Korean, Brazilian, and Hispanic congregations
by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service
ST. PETE BEACH, FLA – From “Navigating Change” to “Sustaining Spiritual Vitality,” attendees at the Go Disciple Live “Be the Light” Conference chose from a wealth of nearly 30 workshop topics toward building their skills in authentic evangelism, storytelling, social media, effective church transformation, justice, church planting, and more.
The conference, which attracted over 275 participants, was held here August 8-11.
One of the conference’s unique features was language-specific programming—including both workshops and affinity groups—for speakers of Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish serving Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations, mid councils, and new worshiping communities. Workshop leaders were respectively the Rev. Sun Bai Kim, associate for Korean ministries for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the Rev. Almir Dias, Portuguese Congregational Support, Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries, and the Rev. Marissa Galvan-Valle, associate for Presbyterian Mission Agency resources and relationships with Hispanic/Latino constituencies.
“The presentations that were offered invited us to reflect on how to shine as a church that gives authentic and effective witness of how Christ lived and acted in the world,” said Galvan-Valle. “It is our hope that our Hispanic/Latino Pastoral Development Seminar, which we called ‘Brilla en el sitio donde estés’ [‘Shine in the place where you are’], will help us to shine as a personal, evangelistic, and communal presence.”
The Rev. Jan Edmiston, co-moderator of the 222nd General Assembly (2016), led a workshop entitled “Exegeting the Neighborhood,” which was designed to offer several tools for figuring out who really lives in the neighborhood and what they need.
Among those attending Edmiston’s workshop was the Rev. Emily Haddox, pastor of Bath Presbyterian Church outside of Dayton, Ohio, which she characterized as a “rural, country, family church.”
“We’re good at sending money, but we don’t do ‘relevant’ in our community well,” said Haddox. “At this conference we’ve been talking a lot about balancing urgency with patience. Our session has a sense of urgency, but it’s more about getting people in the pews. In the workshop I learned that it’s not about membership, but growing the kingdom of God. If you are about that work, and trust in that as you discern your ministry and mission, it’s not just about the numbers. How liberating that is.”
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Categories: Church Transformation, Evangelism & Discipleship, Office of the General Assembly, Worshiping Communities
Tags: Brazilian, evangelism conference, go disciple live, hispanic, Jan Edmiston, korean, theology formation and evangelism, workshops
Ministries: Evangelism, 1001 New Worshiping Communities, Theology, Formation & Evangelism