Bishop Ward and Gil Wise, Beacon District Superintendent, talk more about Project Bountiful in this Connections video.
Bishop: Grace and peace to you this day in the name of our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I come that you may have life and that your life may be abundant.”
We celebrate a new initiative, a partnership with the Academy of Leadership Excellence in the North Carolina Conference, and this initiative is beautifully called Project Bountiful. Gil Wise, who is superintendent of the Beacon district, is on the design team for Project Bountiful.
Gil: The two directives that we are looking at developing with rural churches deal with issues that rural churches deal with, and that is that, first that they’re isolated and so by collaboration together of other rural churches, they come together and find that indeed they are not alone but that they share many genuine things similar to each other that help them to do ministry, do it well together, and it helps reinforce what they are already doing.
The second part of that piece is to talk about leadership development. We’ve got great leaders in our rural churches, but everyone can always use more, and we want more of what they already have there, so giving those resources and take that time to train through retreats that are held through five times of the year, to help them to build, and to develop as leaders, to add into those rural churches, a stronger leadership base is part of that initiative toward those two pieces.
Bishop: For the next three years, the North Carolina Conference will gather cohorts within Project Bountiful, 15 congregations and their pastors each year. A series of five retreats in which there will be learning, a conversation in dialog, sharing best practices and much prayer.
We give thanks for this leadership development opportunity. The orientation for the first cohort is the last day of May, May 31 and we invite your prayers for this new possibility and for those who will be making this journey together.
Gil: Prayer is an important part of what we’re doing together as a connection. We as a people can be in support of, and participating with each other as we do ministry, whether it be in urban settings or in rural settings, and those prayers will make the difference in helping Project Bountiful to be a part of all that it needs to be about to increase the work of our rural churches.
Bishop: The first cohort of Project Bountiful will be from the Beacon district where Gil superintends, as well as churches from the neighboring districts, the Sound district and the Heritage district.
Thank you for your prayers, as these our friends, engage in this journey together. Their witness encourages each of us to live in community with one another receiving Gods richest gifts.