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Laity Inspired Beyond These Walls Conference Set for The Woodlands Methodist Church

By Walter Fenton

It started with a desire at McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church (Powder Springs,Georgia), to learn healthy and best practices for our mission team,” said Mr. Jeff Jernigan, a layman with a passion for developing effective mission partnerships. “Since we could find nothing that existed, we hosted the first Beyond These Wall Conference in 2008 and we held one every other year through 2018. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation in 2020, but we’re back now with what we hope will be our largest gathering to date.”

The Woodlands Methodist Church (The Woodlands, Texas) is the host for the Beyond These Walls 2023 Conference scheduled for April 27-29. The 14,000 member congregation with a robust and far flung missions program of its own, offers a multi-campus setting for the conference. The church is located near several hotels and numerous restaurants, making it easy people to walk to and from the venue. Registration remains open for the conference.

I’m excited about this Beyond These Walls because it’s an outstanding opportunity for the larger Wesleyan Methodist family to receive badly needed equipping in mission and evangelism,” said the Rev. Dr. Kimberly Reisman, Director of World Methodist Evangelism and one of the conference’s organizers. Our world is in desperate need for a compassionate witness to the good news of Jesus Christ and I believe Beyond These Walls will be a great source of encouragement and inspiration for that work.

The keynote speakers for the conference are the Rev. Dr. Jerry Kulah, the Rev. Dr. David Platt, and Ms. Danielle Strickland.

Kulah, a widely known speaker and organizer, is the Dean of the Bishop Innis Graduate School of Theology, and Vice President for Graduate and Professional Studies at The United Methodist University, Monrovia, Liberia. He is also the director of Africa Initiative, a coalition of clergy and laity advocating for the renewal and reform of the UM Church across the continent of Africa and around the world. He is currently a Ph.D. Student at the Angelia Ruskin University, Cambridge Theological Federation, in the United Kingdom. He is also a John Wesley Fellow.

The founder of Radical, a ministry that exists to equip Christians to be on mission, Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of RadicalRadical TogetherFollow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to Change, and Before You VoteHe is also the author of several volumes in the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

From establishing justice departments and church plants, to launching global anti-trafficking initiatives, and to creating new initiatives to mobilize people towards transformational spiritual life, Strickland trains, advocates, and inspires people to live differently through initiatives like Amplify Peace, Brave Global, and the Women Speakers Collective. Her latest book, released in 2020, is Better Together: How Women and Men Can Heal the Divide and Work Together to Transform the Future, her podcast is listened to by thousands globally.

In addition to the three keynote speakers, nearly three dozen other presenters with give talks and lead workshops.

We are laboring for persons to experience a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, wed with practical equipping in discipleship and mission,” said the Rev. Paul Lawler, Senior Pastor at Christ Church (Memphis, Tennessee). We long to see the evangelical Wesleyan expression of Christ freshly equipped and inspired to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly. We will also be unveiling a new web-based equipping engine developed by the Global Methodist Church to foster equipping of local churches on every continent of the world.

Along with the Global Methodist Church, the lead sponsor for the conference, 16 additional organizations and educational institutions are serving as event sponsors.

“The Global Methodist Church believes the Beyond These Walls Conference will exemplify its vision to join God in a journey of bringing new life, reconciliation, and the presence of Christ to all people,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, the new Church’s Chief Connectional Officer. “The conference will be a great opportunity for Global Methodists from around the world to worship, to pray, learn, and celebrate together on the cusp of the Church’s first anniversary.”

Jernigan, Reisman, Lawler, and the Rev. Dr. Wes Griffin, President of the International Leadership Institute, serve as the Beyond These Walls Steering Committee. All four have joined with brothers and sisters around the world to learn from missional partners and to help others grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.

This is an opportunity for many of us to experience what I would call the Great Inversion,” said Lawler. We want to leave an outdated paradigm of the local church existing to fund a denomination, and step into a new and exciting day of minimal church structures that exist to fuel the development of dynamic local churches equipped for effective evangelism, discipleship, and global missions.”

You can learn more about the Global Methodist Church by exploring its website.

Rev. Walter Fenton is the Deputy Connectional Officer for the Global Methodist Church.




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