One of the beautiful aspects of the United Methodist Church is our connection. To help foster collaboration and continue to expand our mission, two districts began inviting local congregations into Circuit Ministry. We’re now expanding the reach of Circuits throughout the annual conference.
Circuit Ministry brings together a geographic group of congregations to focus on our mission of making disciples. West Ohio began introducing circuits in late 2022 in the greater Cincinnati and greater Columbus areas.
Five core values were identified for Circuit Ministry. These include collaboration (Acts 4:43-37), community (Acts 2:43-47), capacity building (Acts 2:37-42), compassion (Acts 6:1-6), and courage (Acts 9:10-19). Circuits begin to form with a willingness to embrace the first value, collaboration.
Circuit Ministry is not a solitary endeavor but a collective effort. The formation of circuits involves a group of churches that collaborate. Together, conversations about relationships, exploration of individual communities and the circuit area, and developing a collective asset map help circuits identify priorities for ministry.
Across two regions, an interesting theme has emerged. As circuits considered the assets available from the circuit churches, they identified ministries beyond the reach of any individual congregation. The themes emerging in these ministries include:
- youth experiences (community events, equipping opportunities, concerts, retreats, etc.)
- addressing food insecurities
- micro-enterprise farming
- community engagement with first responders
Let’s look at two examples of Circuit Ministry unfolding churches two of our districts and the collaborative ministry they’re working on together.
- The Northeast Circuit in the Great Miami River District is made up of Epiphany, Faith Community, Loveland, Mason, Morrow, and The Park. They are collaborating to expand youth ministry circuit-wide, along with communicating and encouraging participation in learning and serving opportunities throughout the circuit. They are also planning a major food packing service project (30,000 meals) for the spring.
- The Marion County Circuit in the Olentangy River District is made up of Epworth, LaRue, Greencamp, Crosswood, Prospect Street, New Bloomington, and Oakland. They are planning for their first cooperative mission to reach out in service and thanks to the county’s 17 fire stations before the end of the calendar year. As they build relationships with first responders they are staying open to future ministry opportunities throughout the county.
Circuit Ministry is taking its first steps in our remaining districts. As local churches are invited into conversation and prayer, we look forward to celebrating the ways God unites us in ministry and mission across the annual conference.
May the shared vision these circuits are identifying continue to lead us forward with hope as God uses the church to transform our communities.
To learn more about Circuit Ministry, please contact your District Office or Regional Missional Specialist:
Great Miami River District & Scioto River District
Wendy Lybarger, email@example.com
Maumee River District & Western Lakes District
Mary Sullivan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Olentangy Rivier District & Hocking River District
Sara Thomas, email@example.com