Northwest Texas Conference
The Northwest Texas Conference is committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The mission of the NWTX Conference is to make disciples for Jesus Christ by equipping local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God.
The Northwest Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church was established in 1910.
Today, it includes 66 counties including the Texas Panhandle and areas around Midland, Big Spring, Abilene, Lubbock and Childress. The Conference is part of the New Mexico Episcopal Area and is under the leadership of Bishop Dan Solomon, Interim Bishop.
The Conference Service Center is located in Lubbock. The first Conference office opened in 1961. The office moved to its downtown location at 1415 Avenue M in 1964. In December 2009, construction began on a new facility. The new building will be home to the Conference Service Center and the NWTX Archives and History Center.
The new 8,100 square foot building was built on the same lot as the old building. Sunwest Corporation was the architect and builder of the $1.5 million project. Even though it was built on the same lot, the address changed to 1401 Avenue M. Approximatley 2,400 people visit the Conference Service Center annually and the Archives and History Center will be open to the public for historical research.
The Northwest Texas Confernce serves 151 communities and has 64,535 members (2008 statistical report).
The Conference is served by four disticts - Abilene, Amarillo, Big Spring and Lubbock.
The following is a brief history of the Conference as written by Dr. Darris L. Egger when he was the Conference historian.
The present NWTX Conference came into being in 1910 out of the old NWTX Conference. That conference was established in 1866 and extended from south of Waco northwestward to all the Panhandle. The present NWTX Conference extends from Abilene on the south, Midland on the west and Vernon on the northeast, and to the top of the Panhandle.
Albany is the oldest existing church in the Conference, having been organized in 1873, a year before Shackelford County was organized. The first district in the present Conference was Belle Plaine, which lasted only three years, 1881-1883. The Abilene District came into being in 1883 and is still going strong. The "Pan Handle" District also was created in 1880, but lasted only one year.
The Vernon District was established in 1888 and until 1894, when the Clarendon District was formed. The Abilene and Vernon Districts adminsitered all the work in what would become the NWTX Conference. In 1904, the Colorado District was organized and known as "The Jumbo District" extending all the way north to Tulia and west to the New Mexico line. The year 1906 saw the creation of the Plainview District and the Stamford District was formed soon after in 1908.
When the huge Conference was divided into the Central Texas and the present NWTX Conferences in 1910, the latter had six districts: Abilene, Clarendon, Colorado, Plainview, Stamford and Vernon. At the first session of the new Conference, three new districts were added: Amarillo, Big Spring and Hamlin. Throughout the 85-year-old history, there have been new alignments in districts and name changes made, but all covering the same territory was in 1910.
Through dedicated lay and clergy, the NWTX Cnference has attembped to carry the Gospel to the 66 counties within its boundaries, to the nation and the world. Thsi has been done with missionary zeal an mission dollars, by evangelistic fervor, through higher Christian education. The Methodist zeal for Christian higher education as manifested by the establishment of five colleges: Belle Plaine, Seth Ward, Clarendon, Stamford and McMurry. Only McMurry succeeded in the struggle for existence and has become a university.
In addition, Wesley Foundations have provided Christian campus ministries at Texas Tech and West Texas A&M. Youth camps at Ceta Canyon Camp and Butman Methodist Camp and Retreat Center, Youth Assemblies at McMurry, the ministry of healing at Methodist Hospital in Lubbock and in its affiliates throughout West Texas and Eastern New Mexico, and Golden Cross are only a few of our channels of ministry.
Local churches are where ministries begin and take place. None could have happened without local church interest and commitment. Sunday Schools teaching the age-old truths, pastors in pulpits challenging people to live the Christian imperative have fueled the work of the church in the world.
This is a "bare bones sketch" of the history of the NWTX Conference.
A complete history of the 100 years of the NWTX Conference, "And, Are We Yet Alive?" by David Murrah is a available through the Conference Service Center.