Offer Them Christ
The Weblog Of J.F. Howard

Meet Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster

At the Friday evening, July 18, session of the 2008 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church, it was announced that the new Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference will be Larry M. Goodpaster (effective, September 1, 2008). Bishop Goodpaster will take over for Bishop Lawrence McCleskey who is retiring effective August 31, 2008.

            Currently, Bishop Goodpaster serves as the episcopal leader of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. He has been the Bishop in residence there since his election to the episcopacy in 2000. He was elected on July 13, 2000 and became the first Bishop elected throughout United Methodism that year.

            Bishop Goodpaster was born in Memphis, TN. He was ordained and served as a pastor in Mississippi until his episcopal election in 2000 and assigned to the Montgomery, Alabama area. Prior to his election as an Episcopal leader, Bishop Goodpaster served as the senior pastor of First UMC Tupelo, MS, and as the District Superintendent of the Tupelo District before that.

            Bishop Goodpaster is married to Deborah, and together they are the parents of two adult daughters, Amy and Lucy, and the grandparents of Amelia and Thomas.

            In 2010, Bishop Goodpaster will begin serving a two-year term as the President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, a distinct position of leadership and honor for him and for the people of the WNC Conference.

            During his 8 years of leadership, the Alabama-West Florida Conference continued strong growth in membership, worship attendance, mission, and generosity.

            We are looking forward to Bishop Goodpaster bringing that same vision and leadership to the WNC Conference.

            In his latest book, There’s Power In The Connection (2008 Abingdon), Bishop Goodpaster gives us insight into his vision for the church. He lists what he considers to be ten vital signs of dynamic congregations. They are:

1. A passionate spirituality that is Bible-based, Christ-centered, Spirit-led and warm-hearted.

2. An inspiring worship service where people encounter and experience the living God.

3. A clear, compelling, and guiding vision statement.

4. An intentional plan for equipping and empowering laity for ministry.

5. An atmosphere of hope and hospitality where caring relationships exhibit the love of Christ.

6. A vital small group ministry for educating, nurturing, growing disciples and building relationships.

7. An evangelism and faith-sharing movement that is needs-oriented and people focused.

8. A compassionate and comprehensive mission program (local and global, financial and personal).

9. A functional structure and organizational system where spiritual gifts are recognized and utilized for the Body.

10. A connectionally committed United Methodist Church through participation and support and extravagant generosity.

            This is the kind of vision that gave the churches of the Alabama-West Florida Conference effective and inspiring episcopal leadership for the last 8 years. It is the very kind of vision and guidance that the people of the WNC Conference need from our Bishop at this very important time in our history.

            Let’s welcome Bishop and Mrs. Goodpaster to the WNC Conference!

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