5 Talent Academy event focuses on ministry outside the church’s walls

By Madeline Pillow

   Andy Crouch leads the 5 Talent Academy event, Oct. 4.

“Good leaders create spaces for other people to act. Your job as a leader is to give people the capacity for meaningful action,” said Andy Crouch, keynote speaker for the 5 Talent Academy event, Oct. 4. Crouch is executive editor of Christianity Today. He also has authored several books including Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing.

Around 600 clergy and laity attended and watched the event as it took place at Ebenezer UMC in Stafford and was shown at 10 other satellite locations. 

Crouch talked about leadership but also led participants of the event to consider the idea of culture in conjunction to how leaders in the church carry out ministry.  The church, Crouch said, has the opportunity to identify how vocations can lead to a person’s identity and what it means for people to be cut off from meaning and dignity. 

5 Talent Academy came out of the All Things New initiative and seeks to equip and revitalize churches around the Virginia Conference. 

After a morning spent with Crouch, participants broke out into peer groups to discuss Crouch’s talk with one another. 

This was a time that Bryson Smith, pastor at Saint Paul’s UMC in Staunton, saw as integral to the 5 Talent Academy experience. 

“You also get an opportunity to gather with your peers and colleagues, to see what’s going on around the church, and that’s just really crucial and important for us to be in ministry,” said Smith. 

Grace Han, associate pastor of Saint Matthew’s UMC in Alexandria and member of the 5 Talent Academy leadership team, also emphasized the importance of the satellite locations and of the connections that these events form.  “There is power for me that all of us from around the Virginia Conference gather together to participate and worship together, to listen to our speaker together and to engage together because we acknowledge that we are one in the body of Christ. We are one conference,” said Han. 

Following the peer groups, participants had time for a final Q&A with Crouch. 

About 5 Talent Academy: 
The 5 Talent Academy is a group of like-minded pastors and laity across the Virginia Conference who are committed to learning the tools and techniques to have healthy, fruitful congregations. As a member of this community, you will learn new ways to increase worship attendance, professions of faith, faith development, ministry to the poor and stewardship. 

There is no cost to your church to join the 5 Talent Academy, just a commitment to grow in fruitfulness and multiplication of ministries centering on worship, mission, discipleship, evangelism and stewardship. To learn more about 5 Talent Academy events, visit www.vaumc.org/5talent.  




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