#gc2020 Clergy Delegate Profile – Challenges and Opportunities

I have submitted a profile to be considered for election as a clergy delegate from the Great Plains Annual Conference to the 2020 General Conference, South Central Jurisdictional Conference, or as an alternate. You can find a list of all clergy and laity who have submitted profiles from the Great Plains Conference here. Here is one of my responses to a question from the delegate profile:

What do you believe are the challenges and opportunities facing the United Methodist Church today?

We face the challenge of demonstrating love for our neighbors in the Great Plains and around the globe in the way that we talk to one another. We have the opportunity to act toward others in ways that we would like others to behave toward us. We face the challenge of a deeply divided global denomination. We have the chance to name our differences, mourn our losses, and meet the future unafraid.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave a comment or send me an email.

You can find more of my writing about General Conference here.

Remember, vote clergy delegate #2009!

#gc2020 Clergy Delegate Profile – Considering 2019 Special Session

I have submitted a profile to be considered for election as a clergy delegate from the Great Plains Annual Conference to the 2020 General Conference, South Central Jurisdictional Conference, or as an alternate. You can find a list of all clergy and laity who have submitted profiles from the Great Plains Conference here. Here is one of my responses to a question from the delegate profile:

In light of the 2019 special session of the General Conference, how do you believe the Church is called to move forward in fulfilling its mission?

We must welcome all people into the entire life of the church. It is time to find calm amid our differences. This could happen in many ways, including:

  • Connectional Conferences – The UMC continues with two or more Central Conferences in the US.
  • Separation – The UMC continues, and either more traditional or more progressive congregations and clergy launch a new connection.
  • Death and Resurrection – The UMC chooses to end its chapter in church history. We celebrate and remember its long and faithful history. We launch two or more new connections to continue to our Wesleyan approach to Christian life.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave a comment or send me an email.

You can find more of my writing about General Conference here.

Remember, vote clergy delegate #2009!

#gc2020 Clergy Delegate Profile – Unique Skills, Knowledge, and Gifts

I have submitted a profile to be considered for election as a clergy delegate from the Great Plains Annual Conference to the 2020 General Conference, South Central Jurisdictional Conference, or as an alternate. You can find a list of all clergy and laity who have submitted profiles from the Great Plains Conference here. Here is one of my responses to a question from the delegate profile:

What unique skills, knowledge, and/or gifts would you bring to the delegation?

I have served in a variety of local church settings, including rural, county seat, and suburban. I am comfortable with uncertainty and conflict. I am willing and able to act experimentally to help our church(es) continue to share God’s love with all our neighbors. As part of a group, I am able to name with clarity where the body is trying to go. I have a passion for our way of practicing the Christian faith. I possess precise knowledge of our polity and parliamentary procedure. You can count on me for dry humor and a good laugh.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave a comment or send me an email.

You can find more of my writing about General Conference here.

Remember, vote clergy delegate #2009!

#gc2020 Clergy Delegate Profile – Consideration as a Delegate

I have submitted a profile to be considered for election as a clergy delegate from the Great Plains Annual Conference to the 2020 General Conference, South Central Jurisdictional Conference, or as an alternate. You can find a list of all clergy and laity who have submitted profiles from the Great Plains Conference here. Here is one of my responses to a question from the delegate profile:

Why would you like to be considered for election as a delegate?

I am a third generation United Methodist preacher. I respect and honor those who have shaped our connection to be what it is today. I want my children to grow up as part of a community of faith that will offer grace, hope, and love to all. I will continue to work toward these aspirations in the local church. I also want to humbly offer my efforts to be about this work as a delegate to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave a comment or send me an email.

You can find more of my writing about General Conference here.

Remember, vote clergy delegate #2009!

#gc2020 Clergy Delegate Profile – Involvement in the UMC

I have submitted a profile to be considered for election as a clergy delegate from the Great Plains Annual Conference to the 2020 General Conference, South Central Jurisdictional Conference, or as an alternate. You can find a list of all clergy and laity who have submitted profiles from the Great Plains Conference here. Here is one of my responses to a question from the delegate profile:

What has been your involvement in the United Methodist Church (include district, conference, and general agency/board involvement)?

  • Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation Trustee – 2019 to Present
  • Shawnee / Douglas Network Clergy Leader – 2018 to Present
  • Topeka District Strategy Team Leader – 2018 to Present
  • Advancing Pastoral Leadership – Cohort 6 – 2015 to Present
  • Launch 1.0 – Courageous Leadership Initiative – 2018
  • Great Plains Board of Ordained Ministry – 2014 to Present
  • Lewis Center for Church Leadership – Lewis Fellows 7 – 2012 to 2013
  • United Methodist Reporter, Board of Directors – 2010 to 2012

Questions? Thoughts? Leave a comment or send me an email.

You can find more of my writing about General Conference here.

Remember, vote clergy delegate #2009!

Strategizing for the District

Since being appointed to serve within the Topeka District of the Great Plains Annual Conference, I have had the opportunity to serve as the lead for the Topeka District Strategy Team. I have been learning as I go, seeking to get to know congregations and leaders of the area. Here are some of my current thoughts on how this team can be most effective to create a strategy for the district.

During some years in the past, the Great Plains Annual Conference (and three conferences) has operated with a structure that encouraged local churches to send both people and resources to be part of initiatives and ministry efforts that originated and were executed at the annual conference level. This lead to a measure of success. However, this model is not working as effectively as it once was.

In recent years, there has been efforts made to push the resourcing and leadership “down” from the annual conference toward the mission field of local churches. Some of this is being accomplished with the creation of Networks which connect local churches to more effectively reach their collective mission field. It also is being accomplished through the work of district strategy teams which work alongside the District Superintendent to develop a strategy to reach the mission field within the district.

What does not need to happen is for a district strategy team to come up with a layer of strategy, events and planning which local churches are encouraged to add to their existing ministries and goals. Instead, I believe that a more effective approach will be to look for common goals that exist among many congregations in the district and consider what resources or strategies that district can bring to bear which support those goals.

As part of the charge conference process, goals are developed and turned in annually from every charge in the district. This fall, we are running an experiment by offering local churches goals to consider for 2019 (Experiment_ Topeka District Local Church Goals (PDF)). If churches have an existing process for developing and iterating on goals, great – keep doing it. However, if they do not, they might consider one or more of these goals for the year ahead. The purpose here is to help local churches make progress on goal setting and create the opportunity for local churches to coalesce around similar goals. We’ll see how this goes…

Regardless of whether or not local churches choose from the experimental goals which were offered to them, our next step will be to review the goals from all the churches in the district to see what, if any, similarities there are. Then, create strategies to help support local churches in the goals that they have already set for themselves.

I am hopeful that this approach will support local churches and more effectively coordinate our efforts together as a district.

100 Conversations in 100 Days

Today is my 32nd day as the preacher assigned to Berryton United Methodist Church. It has been a wonderful journey of learning, sharing, and welcome. I am so grateful for the warm welcome that we have received from the congregation and community. One of the ways that I have been learning about the congregation is something that I am calling 100 Conversations in 100 Days.

I hope to share a one-on-one conversation with 100 people so that I can hear their thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the church and community. My hope is to get this accomplished in my first 100 days, which gives me until October 8. As of today, I have four down and ninety-six to go. If you live in the Berryton area, would you be willing to share a conversation with me about the church? Visit www.calendly.com/AndrewConard and click on “100 Conversations” to set up a time to meet.

I have been updating and adapting questions from Eleven Questions for Getting to Know a New Congregation. Here is the original list:

  • Tell me about a time when you felt especially proud of some members or leaders of your congregation, when you felt they were really following Christ. What makes this incident stand out in your mind?
  • Whom do you especially respect as leaders? Why do you hold them in high regard?
  • Tell me why you’re glad you are a member of this congregation. Why did you join this congregation instead of another one?
  • How has being part of this congregation helped you and members of your family grow in faith? Please give me some examples of experiences or classes that made a difference. How did you change?
  • Tell me a story about when congregation members resolved a conflict or difference effectively. What do you think the congregation learned from this experience? How effectively do leaders and members handle differences now?
  • What have you especially valued about your pastors and other congregational staff? (Be specific.) Do any sermons, initiatives, or attributes of your previous pastors come to mind?
  • Tell me about a time when you were disappointed with members or leaders. What happened?
  • Complete this sentence: “God is calling this congregation to be …”
  • What do you think God wants your congregation to emphasize in the next three to five years?
  • What else do I need to know in order to thrive in this congregation and community?
  • Do you have any other concerns or suggestions?

What strategies or techniques have you used to learn about the congregation and community in a new appointment?