Led by Director of Connectional Ministries Sam Royappa, 16 people gathered at Portage UMC in January for a listening session on large church challenges, opportunities and successes. Attendees included pastors of churches with more than 200 members, several District Superintendents, and Director of Congregational Development Enrique Gonzalez. The session featured fellowship, worship, great food, and an open forum discussion on the ministry-related needs as well as ideas that can strengthen larger local churches in Wisconsin. According to Rev. Royappa, “it was a time for brainstorming together, with a sense of God’s call, our unwavering commitment and a vision of strengthening the systems of discipleship, stewardship and leadership in our local faith communities.” Some of the strengths that were shared included community outreach ministries, mission work, community gardens, “field preaching,” Logo’s ministry, a women’ shelter, youth and after-school ministries, music programs, and more. It was lifted up that the challenges of large churches are the same as smaller churches, including financial support and membership growth. In terms of resources from the Conference, the attendees asked for training opportunities for large church staff and also in the area of stewardship. Click here for photos from the day.