Connectional Table #CTTalks for 2016 General Conference


The Connectional Table is launching a series of weekly videos to help inform United Methodist church leaders and General Conference delegates leading up to the 2016 General Conference next May. The videos are part of an online forum called #CTTalks.

The #CTTalks forum is designed to be used by delegations and annual conferences as they study and discuss issues that will be addressed at General Conference 2016. These weekly posts will include interviews with United Methodist bishops, Connectional Table members, and other leaders from across the denomination.

The Connectional Table invites anyone who is interested in a topic to participate via Twitter by using the hashtag #CTTalks.

Download the companion guide, which includes questions for group discussion and resources for further exploration.

#CTTalks Introduction: What are CTTalks?

The Rev. Dr. Amy Valdez Barker, the Rev. Dr. Amy Valdez Barker, Executive Secretary of the Connectional Table, explains the function and format of #CTTalks.

Listed below are the summaries for the weekly talks for each month’s topic. Click the buttons for videos.

October 2015: General Conference Culture

Watch Videos for October 2015

#CTTalks 1, Week 1: Vision for General Conference

Judi Kenaston, Chair of the Commission on General Conference, and The Rev. Gere Reist, Secretary of General Conference, talk about the commission’s vision for the 2016 gathering.

#CTTalks 1, Week 2: General Conference Commission Members

The Rev. Gere Reist, Secretary of General Conference, and Judi Kenaston, Chair of the Commission on General Conference, discuss the makeup of the membership of the Commission on General Conference and how they are selected. The members, along with the other key leaders, choose the sites, develop the schedule, and set the legislative committees for General Conference.

#CTTalks 1, Week 3: The Importance of Communication

What do first-time delegates to General Conference need to know? Learn how General Conference 2016 hopes to facilitate communication and increase effectiveness in our work together.

#CTTalks 1, Week 4: Frequently Asked Questions about General Conference 2016

What are some of the questions being asked regarding General Conference 2016? Learn more about Rule 44 as an alternative process, proposed changes to the number of delegates, and a schedule that allows for greater efficiency and more rest.

#CTTalks 1, Ending: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Join us in the Wesley Covenant Prayer as we center ourselves for our work together at General Conference 2016. Rev. Dr. Amy Valdez Barker also introduces the topic and interviewees for November’s #CTTalks focus on Christian Conferencing.

November 2015: Christian Conferencing

Watch Videos for November 2015

#CTTalks 2, Week 1: What Does Christian Conferencing Mean to You?

This week’s video introduced Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader and Bishop Christian Alsted. They share what Christian conferencing means to them and how Wesleyan history and theology shapes their understanding of this means of grace.

#CTTalks 2, Week 2: Improving Christian Conferencing at General Conference 2016

How can we approach Christian Conferencing at this General Conference not as something we do but as a way of being at all times? Learn about the important role of listening in Christian Conferencing.

#CTTalks 2, Week 3: Christian Conferencing, an Exercise in Community

Why should delegates learn more about Christian Conferencing? Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader and Bishop Christian Alsted talk about how teaching conferencing and listening skills is one way to prepare for General Conference.

#CTTalks 2, Week 4: Christian Conferencing – It Takes Practice!

Christian Conferencing is something we explore and discover together, and we can start by practicing it in small groups. It requires a willingness to be open, to listen deeply, and to learn and be changed by what we encounter.

December 2015: Vital Congregations

Watch Videos for December 2015

#CTTalks 3, Week 1: Vital Congregations – A Place Where Disciple Making Occurs

Join us as we explore how vital congregations become places where our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world can take place.

#CTTalks 3, Week 2: Vital Congregations Lead to Vital Communities

The four areas of focus are a part of our historical identity as United Methodists. Naming them helps us focus on ways we can live them out in our diverse contexts.

#CTTalks 3, Week 3: The Four Areas of Focus — Why Should We Care?

The four areas of focus are both the fruit and the means of vital congregations. Learn how they can help us align our efforts and set realistic goals, as well as unite us across the worldwide connection.

January 2016: Worldwide Nature – Our Theology

Watch Videos for January 2016

#CTTalks 4, Week 1: The Value of a Worldwide Connection for the 21st Century Church

How will we organize ourselves to become a more truly authentic worldwide church? Bishops David Yemba and Patrick Streiff emphasize a commitment to our mission and to relationships.

#CTTalks 4, Week 2: Blessings and Challenges of a Worldwide Connection

Bishops Streiff and Yemba share their experiences of serving in Central Conferences and how our worldwide connection has changed over time.

#CTTalks 4, Week 3: Working Towards a General Book of Discipline

As delegates study the legislation around a General Book of Discipline, it is important to understand what is essential to maintaining our worldwide connection versus what is adaptive and contextual.

#CTTalks 4, Week 4: Frequently Asked Questions about a General Book of Discipline

What are some of the questions being asked regarding a General Book of Discipline? What are the essential values delegates need to have as they prepare for General Conference 2016?

February 2016: Worldwide Nature – Structure

Watch Videos for February 2016

#CTTalks 5, Week 1: We Are In This Together

Connectional Table members share their reflections on the values that have guided them in their work on becoming a more authentic worldwide church.

#CTTalks 5, Week 2: A Vital Connection

We examine the current landscape of our worldwide connection and look at some of the conversations and changes already taking place in jurisdictions as we seek to be a more authentically global and vital connection.

#CTTalks 5, Week 3: Our Worldwide Connection – The Fruit of Our Labors

Our growth as a worldwide connection is a result of our history as a mission movement, a people dedicated to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ across the world. Delegates to General Conference should be aware of this history as it helps inform them about the work of The United Methodist Church moving into the future.

#CTTalks 5, Week 4: An Even Bigger Opportunity to be the Body of Christ

Current and future leaders from some of our United Methodist seminaries reflect on the blessings and challenges of living into our worldwide nature as The United Methodist Church.

March 2016: Human Sexuality

Watch Videos for March 2016

#CTTalks 6, Week 1: Listening, Learning and Leading

This quadrennium, the Connectional Table engaged in conferencing through dialogue, prayer, and worship around the church’s perceived impasse on homosexuality.

#CTTalks 6, Week 2: Working Behind the Scenes

In this week’s #CTTalks, Bishop Wenner and Rev. Bigham-Tsai share how they view their role as facilitators within the Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table in conversations regarding human sexuality during this quadrennium.

#CTTalks 6, Week 3: How Do We Handle Disagreement?

In this week’s #CTTalks, Bishop Wenner and Rev. Bigham-Tsai reflect on the importance of people feeling heard and respected as we engage in dialogue with one another.

#CTTalks 6, Week 4: Understanding The Third Way Legislation

In this week’s #CTTalks, Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, chair of the Connectional Table’s Legislative Writing Team, explains some of the specifics of the Third Way legislation being presented at General Conference 2016.

April 2016: Stronger Together – Strategic Directions for 2017-2020

Watch Videos for April 2016

#CTTalks 7, Week 1: Setting Forth a Vision – Strategic Directions for 2017-2020

Bishop Mike Lowry and Rev. Mike Slaughter explain the work of Vital Congregations and the Four Areas of Focus. These areas of focus will continue to guide the vision of the denomination moving forward into the next quadrennium.

#CTTalks 7, Week 2: Stewarding Our Resources – Evaluation & Accountability

Rev. Mark Brown and Rev. Dr. Tamara Brown talk about the Connectional Table’s work to align the resources of the denomination towards greater impact and stronger relationships.

#CTTalks 7, Week 3: A General Church Budget Reflective of Missional Priorities

GCFA Board Member Charlie Moore and Connectional Table Member Pete Aguila discuss the principles, process, and partnerships that led to the proposed 2017-2020 Quadrennial Budget coming before General Conference.