First United Methodist Church
The First United Methodist Church in DeFuniak Springs has celebrated its 128th anniversary. We are a member of the Alabama - West Florida District of the conference of the United Methodist Church. Led by Bishop Larry Bryars, the Alabama - West Florida Annual Conference is dedicated to its mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ. The conference steadfastly works toward a vision of thriving churches where disciple making ministries are brought to life. The conference identifies four specific areas in which that vision is carried into reality. These priorities are to develop lay and clergy leaders, to plant new congregations and faith communities, to expand mission opportunities and to become a church for all God's children. The Alabama - West Florida Conference has more than 147,000 members, including about 600 active and retired pastors serving approximately 700 churches.
Our Core Values
1. Missional Priority – Our first commitment is to fulfill the mission of the church, which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. (Matthew 20:18-20, Acts 1:8).
2. Mutual Honor – Our first calling is to live as the Body of Christ, to honor each other with respect, as people for whom Jesus died, appreciating all who have contributed to our heritage while trusting those who will forge our future. We are called to “care for the flock that God has entrusted to [us]. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what [we] will get out of it, but because [we] are eager to serve God.” I Peter 5:2 (NLT)
3. Authentic Community – Our first concern is to live responsibly and peaceably as we relate to each other in all matters pertaining to the life of the church. Jesus created a “small group” of twelve. John Wesley championed the importance of small groups called “class meetings.” Moreover, the Chautauqua movement enhanced the ministry of Sunday school. Small groups provide a crucial setting for our spiritual growth and for reaching out in ministry to the world. (Acts 2:42-47)
4. Covenantal Accountability – Our first corporate duty is to watch over each other in love, living with integrity, and giving an honest account in all our decision-making processes. Small groups provide a setting for us to live in gracious accountability, including the stewardship of all our resources. The biblical tradition of tithing affirms that every person’s gifts are vital, and that faithfulness is measured not in absolute dollars but in how we allocate, or prioritize, our living and our giving. (1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:1-7)