Power of Environment: I Want to Work Here

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At one of my favorite coffee shops, I overheard a group of students say to the barista,

“We’re going to work here when we get old enough.”

I was struck by the power of this statement. The environment and culture is so enjoyable that someone would want to work there in the future. Not just be present or come from time to time, but commit time in the future to working to create the space for other people.

I hope to lead congregations with a similar culture. I hope that people don’t just come to worship or take part in ministry activities because it is nice or fills some niche in their life. I hope that people are so engaged by the the purpose and culture of the congregation that they want to help make space for others to share what they have experienced.

Paternity Leave Letter and Details

I have had several clergy friends ask about the details of my recent paternity leave, so I wanted to share some of the questions and my responses, as well as the letter that I used to initiate the process.

  1. I was on paid leave for 5 weeks full time and 3 weeks part time.
  2. My responsibilities were covered by another staff member at Resurrection. The local church that covered the cost for my responsibilities.
  3. My supervisor arranged coverage with another staff member. I recognize that there are some distinctions about this and it may not be so helpful for other situations.
  4. The staff person who covered for me was responsible for the very basic routine. All strategic development was put on hold until I returned.
  5. I am a full elder in the Kansas West Annual Conference serving in the Kansas East Annual Conference. I am not aware of a standard plan for either of these annual conferences.
  6. I put together basic instructions for the person that was covering my responsibilities and wrote the following letter to initiate the leave.

October 25, 2010

Staff Parish Relations Committee

c/o Chair of Staff Parish

The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

13720 Roe Avenue

Leawood, KS 66224

Dear Staff Parish Relations Committee,

My wife, and I are expecting the birth of our first child in January. The current due date is January 2, 2011. I would like to would like to request Paternity Leave according to the provisions found in ¶356 of the 2008 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church.

I would like to take full time leave beginning January 2 and continuing until February 5, 2011. I will make arrangements with my supervisor, for complete coverage during these five weeks. I would like to take part time leave beginning February 6 and continuing to February 26, 2011. I will be available for weekend worship responsibilities, important scheduled meetings and will be available by and responsive to email communication during these three weeks. I would like to return to full time responsibility beginning on February 27, 2011.

I will continue to be in conversation with my supervisor to address any particular considerations for coverage or other issues regarding this leave request. Will you please let me know what, if any, additional next steps need to be taken to receive this leave? Thank you for your time and consideration!

Grace and Peace,

Andrew Conard



XC: District Superintendent

Supervisor at the local church

Director of Human Resources at the local church

Back from Paternity Leave

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I am back from paternity leave and am considering resuming posting here at Thoughts of Resurrection. However, when I checked my stats of views over the past few months, I found something interesting.

In the month of January, I made no posts to the blog and the average page views per day was only down 16% from the average of the entire year of 2010 when I sought to post 5 days a week.

So, I ask myself – is it worth the time to post on a regular basis? Clearly it is not all about the page views and who might connect with this content. There is value in me spending time to pull together my thoughts and put them down.

What do you think? Would you enjoy more posts here at Thoughts of Resurrection? What kind of content would you find valuable?

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.

New Appointive Year

As of July 1, 2009 I have completed three years under appointment as a United Methodist pastor. At this point my appointment history is pretty simple:

As I begin my fourth year of appointment, I am looking forward to ordination in 2010 in the Kansas West Annual Conference. I hope to continue to serve God as a United Methodist pastor for many years to come.