Excellence in Ministry #umbom14 – Reflections from Day 3

Yesterday was Day 3 of the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver.  In the morning we heard from two different panels  with Val Hastings, Founder and President of Coaching4Clergy as Moderator.

Panel 1: Developing Effective Leaders

  • Fred Allen, National Director, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century
  • Ted Campbell,  Associate Professor of Church History, Perkins School of Theology
  • Gail Ford Smith, Director, Center for Clergy Excellence, Texas Annual Conference

Panel 2: The Role of Supervision in Developing Effective Leaders

  • Bishop Cynthia Harvey, Louisiana Episcopal Area
  • Rev. Dr. Tom Choi, District Superintendent, California-Pacific Annual Conference
  • Rev. Dr. Candace Lansberry, District Superintendent, Desert Southwest Annual Conference

In the afternoon we were divided among table groups with a mix of people both geographically and in role (Board Chair, Vice-Chair, DS, etc.). We were given case studies of situations which a Board of Ordained Ministry may face and engage in conversation and reflection about what actions, motivations and next steps. In the evening, we went out to eat as a Great Plains team with one of our Iliff seminary students.

Here are some of my takeaways from the day:

  • Many early Methodist leaders would likely have faced significant challenges moving through the process with a Board of Ordained Ministry today.
  • Regarding the divide / friction / boundary between cabinet and Board of Ordained Ministry:
    • It is common across many annual conferences.
    • The Judicial Council decisions around this matter center around fair / due process.
    • Agreement around a common goal can significantly dissolve anxiety and build trust
  • Systems, processes and strategies are bound by time and place. They are not effective forever.
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Pollyanna Principles for The UMC

Several months ago, I read the post The Pollyanna Principles for Social Change, which lead me to The Pollyanna Principles. From the website:

The Pollyanna Principles

The Ends:

1. We accomplish what we hold ourselves accountable for.
2. Each and every one of us is creating the future, every day, whether we do so consciously or not.

The Means:

3. Everyone and everything is interconnected and interdependent, whether we acknowledge that or not.
4. “Being the change we want to see” means walking the talk of our values.
5. Strength builds upon our strengths, not our weaknesses.
6. Individuals will go where systems lead them.

While these principles were not primarily designed for religious organizations, I believe that there are clear correlations to the United Methodist Church. My response to each of the above principles in light of The United Methodist Church:

  1. Whether it is worship attendance, budget, baptisms, confirmation, small groups or some other metric, whatever one measures in the local church becomes that around which efforts focus for continued development. Ultimately we should be holding ourselves accountable to the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  2. Each person that is part of any United Methodist congregation has influence in the future of the denomination. While the official decisions from General Conference prove influential on a macro scale, the experience and sharing of any local community shapes the understanding of the entire denomination for that area. For example, a church that is thriving and individuals are sharing good news with their neighbors will create a future for the denomination in that area that is positive. In the aggregate, the denomination is shaped.
  3. Related to point 2, the joys and concerns are shared. As in the body of Christ, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
  4. If one hopes to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, one must live as a disciple of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  5. This is true for the UMC as for nearly any organization.
  6. There is an interesting connection between individuals and systems. In connection with point 2, individuals can influence a system, however ultimately it is most likely that someone will guide others in the way that they have been guided.

What are your thoughts, feelings or opinions about all this?