About Me and this Blog

Michael Roberts - Pulpit PaintingI was recently appointed as the Director of ReStart Initiative, a new cabinet position to provide care and support for those who want to remain United Methodist and who are affected by disaffiliation. I am also a delegate to General Conference. Other appointments include 10 years as the senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Conway, Arkansas. Playing guitar, reading/writing, and theological conversation are among my favorite pastimes. My wife, Deidre, is also an ordained United Methodist minister, and we have three wonderful adult children, and two grandchildren. I hold degrees from the University of Central Arkansas (BA), Duke University Divinity School (M.Div), and Southern Methodist University (D.Min).

For several years I worked on a Conference staff in the area of congregational development and led an intentional process — not a program — called Connected In Christ.  Our charge was to “facilitate the connections needed for faithful and fruitful ministry.” We connected pastors together for peer learning, support, and inspiration.  We connected pastor and lay leadership together for visioning and growth.  We connected leadership team to coaches and resources to help them lead congregations in every increasing faithfulness and fruitfulness.  I watched this multifaceted process of connecting bear great fruit in the lives of clergy, congregations, and conferences.  While our Conference has moved to other models, I continue to hear frequently about the impact of this ministry.  I am grateful.

This website takes the name, Connected In Christ, in part out of honor, in part to facilitate the same connections and conversations, and in part because this title expresses my hope for the Church, that we would be connected and united, not in our opinions or expressions of ministry, but in the One who loves us and calls us to grow in this love.  The Church, with its great diversity of gifts and ministries, gives us this opportunity.  May every word here facilitate and inspire connections and conversation that leads to growth in faithfulness and fruitfulness.  That is my prayer.

Michael Roberts

2 thoughts on “About Me and this Blog”

  1. Michael, gotta tell you this story. My family and I were on a mini-vacation, visiting Subiaco Academy back in 2003. I was sitting in the lobby of Coury House and spotted a small, spiral bound book there that fascinated me. It was a songbook with a HUGE number of songs, with lyrics and chords (perfect for me, as a guitar player). The title on the cover was “Connected In Christ: A Songbook (in process) for Worship and Group Singing”. I asked the front desk where I could purchase a copy of that book and, to my joyous surprise, they told me I could HAVE it!

    Fast forward 15 years. I’m just now beginning to get more involved in the music ministry at my church. I’ve kept that book all these years and have used it repeatedly for sing-alongs, family gatherings, sitting around the campfire, and so on. Last week, my family was invited to a cookout and singing, so, naturally, I got the songbook out to put into my guitar case. As I was thumbing through, appreciating the work that was put into it, I began to wonder if I might find more information. so I began to Google the name on the front, “Michael Roberts” (hey, that’s you!), which led me to this blog. I see you are a Methodist pastor in Conway, which is where we live, so I just wanted to say, “Howdy!” and mainly, thank you for many, many years of enjoyment I’ve had in playing these hymns and worship songs, all thanks to your hard work.

    Now, I do realize that the songbook is now over 15 years old, but hey, it’s worth a shot. Do you happen to have a digital copy of this songbook and if so, how much would want for a copy of it?


  2. I am Stay UMC. May I have permission to reprint your “Personal FAQ…Disaffiliation” document to share with my church members? Pls. Respond to my email address. Thank You.


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