The New England Conference Office of Congregational Development, in collaboration with Discipleship Ministries, is excited to announce the recipients of the newly created One Matters Discipleship Award.
“With the One Matters Discipleship Award, we want to lift up the importance of discipleship … Making disciples is much more than statistics; it is about lives changed by God’s grace," said Sara Thomas, Deputy General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries and Chief Strategist for Vital Congregations. “We have an opportunity to help celebrate the fact that one life matters ... and continue to help congregations identify ways to invite people into a relationship with Jesus through the United Methodist Church.”
The churches receiving the 2015 awards in the New England Conference are being recognized because in 2014 they received a high percentage of professions of faith (relative to average worship attendance), baptized both children and adults, and are focused on the process of making disciples of Jesus Christ.
The awards are given in three categories: churches with over 200 in worship, churches with between 75 and 199 in worship, and churches with 75 or fewer in worship.
This year’s recipients are:
“Each of these churches is being recognized because they have done incredible work around making disciples of Jesus Christ, receiving many new people on professions of faith and baptizing a number of children and adults, along with having a clear process of making maturing disciples of Jesus Christ,” said Rev. Rick McKinley, Conference Director of Congregational Development.
During Annual Conference, Discipleship Ministries will recognize each church with a plaque. The churches will also receive a check for $1,000.
More than 70 percent of UMC congregations in the United States did not baptize anyone age 13 or older in 2013, and 55 percent did not baptize anyone age 12 and younger, according to the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). In addition, 50 percent of local churches did not have any professions of faith that year.
“… we want to help interpret, across the connection, what zeros in professions of faith and baptism mean and what moving away from the zeros means,” said Thomas. “Each ‘1’ in those categories represents a transformed life – a life that matters to God, and a life that should matter to us.”