Excellence in Ministry #umbom14 – Reflections and Next Steps

This week I was part of the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver. After some reflection, I want to share some possible next steps for me and for our Board of Ordained Ministry. Here goes…

Next Steps for the Board of Ordained Ministry

  • Have God’s eyes for big possibilities
  • Consider process changes to encourage and identify highly motivated, self-starting, creative and entrepreneurial leaders.
  • Be steady in purpose, but flexible in strategy. -Gil Rendle
  • Continue commitment to change and diversify
  • Be intentional in language used around the candidacy process – What do we do? Why do we do it?
  • Focus on telling the story of the Great Plains Board of Ordained Ministry – not the stories of the Board from our former conferences.
  • Explore ways to recruit before self-selection as a candidate
  • Identify the small changes which would make the biggest difference in changing the dynamics of the Board.

Next Steps for Me

  • Have God’s eyes for big possibilities
  • Actively engage as a lifelong learner, i.e. D. Min, conferences, reading, etc.
  • Be part of addressing the challenges and capitalizing on the opportunities of being a global denomination with a democratic polity.
  • Consider additional opportunities to serve at the annual, jurisdictional and general conferences
  • Look for ways to further develop my:
    • emotional intelligence
    • understanding of systems theory
  • Continuously look for the gifts in others, name and cultivate those gifts, and unleash these gifts and people into the ministry and community.
  • Seek out those who would mentor me and those who could be mentored by me.
  • Recognize that deep change means surrendering control.
  • Identify the small changes which would make the biggest difference in my leadership in the local church
  • Seek both mastery and originality

Will you please share your thoughts, feelings and opinions about these lists? What changes could be most helpful for the Great Plains Board of Ordained Ministry? How might I best improve my work as an Elder in the United Methodist Church?

What to Do with Ineffective United Methodist Clergy

I recognize there is debate about how to determine what makes a clergy person effective.

Whatever criteria is used, when a clergy person is determined to be ineffective she or he should find another job before the end of the appointive year.

This doesn’t mean being kicked out of the church or Christian community.

It means helping people find a different path for their employment. That’s all.

As a newly ordained elder (clergy) in the UMC, this is what I want for myself. If I am not effective, help me to recognize that and find some other way to support myself and my family.

2010 #kswumc – Reflections on Clergy Session

Last night was the clergy session of the Kansas West Annual Conference. My name was raised under the following questions:

31. Who are elected as members in full connection? b) Elders

33. Who are elected for ordination as elders?

Along with 8 other elder and 2 deacon provisional members, I walked in to Mabee Arena at Kansas Wesleyan University. This was the first year that clergy session had been held at this location. All of the clergy were seated on the bleachers on one side of the arena with a table and podium set up on the court. Bishop Jones had us turn to face him, away from the clergy, while the votes were taken for each one of us. One vote as a member in full connection in the annual conference and one for ordination as elder. I remember looking up at the ventilation system, the empty folded up bleachers across the arena and glancing at Bishop Jones as he asked the clergy session to vote for my election. Then I heard, “He is elected.” I found out later from my Dad, that it was at 7:54 PM.

I was expecting the result of the vote to be affirmative. It wasn’t particularly overwhelming emotionally, however I do remember trying to soak in all the details of what I was seeing and hearing as I thought, “This is a marker point in my life.” It did feel good to turn around and see the clergy session applauding at the end of the election of all those to be ordained. I looked back and forth across the full bleachers as I wanted to look at everyone who was there, or at least in their general direction. I remember making eye contact with my Dad who was standing to applaud and wearing a brown United Methodist Shirt from Zimbabwe. Later in the clergy session, I remember looking at my Aunt Karen Fieser, who was retiring as she was voted on for retirement.

Later today is the presentation for the potential covenant partnership between the Kansas West and Zimbabwe East Annual Conferences. This evening is the Taste of Zimbabwe dinner. I am looking forward to both with a bit of anxiety and excitement.

Ordination in the UMC: Sermon

A few weeks ago, I made a proposal to make publicly available the documents produced by candidates for ministry in The United Methodist Church. To that end, I have published my Sermon for Admission to Full Connection and Ordination as Elder in the Kansas West Annual Conference. You can find the document online at http://j.mp/69Bnng. I have licensed my work under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

Thanks to Nick for the video work.

I hope that you will take time to read some of my responses and share your opinions, thoughts or feelings in the comments on this post.

Ordination in the UMC: Bible Study

A few weeks ago, I made a proposal to make publicly available the documents produced by candidates for ministry in The United Methodist Church. To that end, I have published my Bible Study for Admission to Full Connection and Ordination as Elder in the Kansas West Annual Conference. You can find the document online at http://j.mp/5VnAR0. I have licensed my work under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License

I hope that you will take time to read some of my responses and share your opinions, thoughts or feelings in the comments on this post.

Ordination Paperwork in the UMC: A Provocative Proposal

I have been working to complete my paperwork for ordination and full membership as an elder in the Kansas West Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. I realized that this vast body of theological thought is going to waste after it is being turned in. It would be a great gift to the church if these were made publicly available. This would give a pulse of the theology of those entering ministry and provide a roadmap for where the denomination may be headed in the years ahead. A service such as http://turnitin.com could be utilized to maintain the integrity and original thought required as part of the process.

I will post my paperwork here in the days ahead. I welcome your thoughts, feelings or opinions about my work.

My Call to Ministry

My call to ministry has been a chain of experiences that have brought me to my current understanding of God’s call in my life. In the summer of 2002, I realized that God was not calling me to a career in biology, my field of study at the time. I considered many possibilities for life after graduation during the fall semester of my final year at Pittsburg State University. One of those possibilities was pursuing graduate theological education.

At a campus ministry reterat, as I was reading the account of Jesus calling his disciples in the Gospel according to John, I heard God speaking to me. The disciples’ question, “Where are you staying?” seemed to correspond to my question, “What is this whole seminary thing about?” Jesus responds clearly to them: “Come and see.” To me this response was Jesus saying to me, “Come and find out what seminary is about and how you can serve God in the world. Follow me and I will show you what you need to know.” As a result of this and other experiences, I enrolled at Wesley Theological Seminary after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2003 from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS.

When I enrolled in seminary I was not sure of which direction theological education would take me. Over the next few years my calling was refined from a call to seminary, to a confirmation of my place in seminary, to a call to ordained ministry serving in the local church. I graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity degree in May 2006.

It has been a mix of struggle, joy and surprises. I was helped primarily by my family and friends. I am currently serving as a pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

One of the positive influences in my call to ministry was an exploration event. I invite you to consider www.gbhem.org/exploration as a possibility if you are exploring a call to ministry and are between a high school senior and age 24.