Our purpose is to evaluate the current life of Holston Conference
and seek to find more effective ways to express
a contemporary and relevant vision for bringing people into a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ.
Strategy Team's Annual Conference 2018 Presentation on Missional Hubs:
The Holston Conference Strategy Team is pleased to present the official Map of Holston Conference that represents our 9 new Districts. To facilitate the ability to locate your particular church on the map it is accompanied by a List of all churches that are aligned with each new District. Simply ‘choose’ the District number most closely associated with your location and check the list to find your church name.
In accordance with the United Methodist Book of Discipline, the new District boundaries were established by the District Superintendents (the Cabinet) and the Bishop taking into consideration the 6 factors set forth in the Comprehensive Conference Strategy Plan adopted by Annual Conference in June 2017.
The factors used by the Cabinet and Bishop were designed to insure greater equity in the distribution of leadership and resources among the districts of the Conference. To decide the location of district boundaries they evaluated data and information, including feedback received from districts, clergy and church members over the past several months, in the following 6 areas:
1. Mission Field
4. Number of clergy and churches under supervision
5. Financial Resources
Strategy Team pre-conference briefing video for 2017:
Strategy Team report as presented at Annual Conference 2016:
The weighty task of the Holston Conference Strategy Team is to engage the people of Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church to help discern how we can be more effective in living out the reality of the first two things…given the reality of the third thing.
And the ‘third thing’ is happening more rapidly than we can imagine.
There is a recognition that in the past 50 years, there have been fundamental transitions in our Conference: transportation routes have moved, cities and communities have developed new commercial centers and neighborhoods, the ethnic diversity of various regions has shifted and local economies have expanded or contracted, depending upon where you live. We communicate in ways that were entirely unimaginable 30 years ago; (if you’re reading this on your iPhone, you’ve just proven this point)
However, there was also a recognition that the Holston Conference structure continues to operate on the basis of a reality that existed several decades ago. Since the last formal reconfiguration of the Conference, many things have changed, but the way we relate to our mission fields, the way we nurture our resources and build the capacity of local churches and districts to do ministry have adapted slowly.
In response, a diverse group of clergy and laity from across the Conference convened in the Fall of 2015 to examine these emerging challenges of ministry and to utilize a new tool with unprecedented potential to learn more about the individuals living as our neighbors within Holston Conference – a program that maps demographic characteristics, (or ‘lifestyle segments’) known as MissionInsite.
The Committee’s initial approach was to look at re-structuring our Conference Districts to help maximize the capacity of local churches to work collaboratively in creating new ministry goals. This aligned nicely with the recent commitment of the United Methodist Church to place more emphasis on the role of Districts and District Superintendents as ‘missional strategists’. The Committee examined how the consolidation of Districts might achieve stronger support systems and more efficient use of resources. With guidance from church development and MissionInsite consultant Tom Bandy, the Team was able to identify several redistricting concepts that might accomplish this. The Committee met with various groups and committees within the Conference who might be affected by such changes to seek their insight and feedback.
The Committee was pleased with the level of participation of these groups and their willingness to engage in this exploration of how we might be better prepared to meet the ministry challenges we face in these times. With prayerful consideration and guidance, the Committee’s discernment led to the conclusion that the task of structuring Holston Conference to meet these challenges required a bolder and broader vision than the simple reconfiguration of district boundaries. Through thoughtful examination of its objectives, the Committee’s undertaking has grown and evolved as the process matured. As it realized its role of envisioning a new way of meeting our missional objectives, it became the Conference Strategy Team.
The Team also recognized that it would require more time than it had initially considered to evaluate the needs, concerns and vision for change. However, there is some urgency to the need to calibrate our Conference structure to the means of ministry in the 21st century.
The purpose of the Conference Strategy Team is:
"To evaluate the current life of Holston Conference and seek to find more effective ways to express a contemporary and relevant vision for bringing people into a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ."
The Team will continue to take the opportunity to share its vision for the future, the process it is undertaking and the status of these efforts through posts and updates on this webpage. And the means by which Holston Conference moves forward is by engagement with all elements of the Conference – its laity, its clergy, local churches, districts, the boards and committees and individuals who are members of this family that stretches from North Georgia to Virginia. Together we journey forward in faith into a future conceived by God.
Send your questions to
The Strategy Team meets about every two months and you will receive a response following our next meeting. Thank you for your questions!