Laity Profiles page 6

  

Name Sharon Dzula
Address 204 N. Central, Chilhowee Mo 64733
Day Phone 660-678-3241
Email sdzula13@yahoo.com
Local Church Mt. Tabor UMC
District Heartland
 
Background Information, such as your church involvement, education, career, and relevent leadership experience.

I am the Lay Leader and Church Delegate for Mt. Tabor UMC. I am chairman of the Worship committee, and I lead the congregational prayer team each Sunday morning. I am also an active member of the PPR Committee and the Administrative Board at Mt. Tabor. I will be finishing up my District office of Social Action for UMW this December thereby completing the 4 years allowed to serve. I am also a Lay Speaker/Server. I give many presentations for UMW local unites and have done pulpit supply for Mt. Tabor, Higginsville Grace UMC, Lexington UMC, Norris UMC and Chilhowee UMC.

 

Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.
I read 5 to 7 books a year that have been endorsed by our Methodist Conference. I read daily devotions and the Bible first thing; before I start my day. I seek new ways to learn, meditate and grow in my faith walk. Doing prison ministry keeps me focused on the true concept of serving. This summer I hope to attend a program called “The Road to Emmaus” so I can get involved with the Kairos program thereby getting behind the walls to let Jesus shine through me toward the hard core criminals that seem to have no remorse. As so many others, I hope to be an avenue that will assist in leading ALL to our Christ.

 

Why do you seek election as a Lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference? If you’re interested in being elected only to Jurisdictional Conference, indicate that in your answer.
I’m a strong Methodist John Wesleyan and I believe very strongly in the United Methodist ways. I am a stickler for rules, fight for ALL people, search for right answers, serve humbly and leave myself open to help in any way I can. If God wants me in this position to do His work then it is my job to be here waiting for His call.

What issues do you think are particularly important for the future of the church, which General Conference should deal with in order to fulfill the mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?” Do you have a position on those issues?
I believe we should have stronger focus on local needs. I do NOT want to see our work around the world slow down. More local focus would be in addition to. Continued work with our youth, especially those ages from 15 to 30 must be propelled forward with high velocity. A movement of understanding for prison ministry is certainly a pet project for me and one that is needed to make those new disciples. The homeless, poverty stricken and addiction addled children of God also need us. I have one basic position on serving God and aiding in the leadership of the Methodist Church. ALL are important and all are deserving if we are doing our job. This is God’s world…not mine.

Since Jurisdictional Conference’s primary focus is to elect new bishops, what qualifications do you think the church needs in its future episcopal leaders?
A firm hand that leads with gentleness, kindness, love and God’s truth would be my first qualification. That followed by a person that understands the form of government order and uses the chain of command properly would be a positive mix. However, we still must keep ever forefront in our minds that we need someone who knows the Bible well and truly follows the footsteps of Jesus and His teachings without getting them mixed up into their own personal agenda. That being said, I believe we need references from others that show us this person has true leadership qualities in that others most always seem willing to follow this person’s recommendations.

 

Name Amy Thompson
Address 1404 NW R.D. Mize Road,
Blue Springs, MO
 
Day Phone 816-805-6898
Email amythompson2014@gmail.com
Local Church Woods Chapel
District Heartland
 
Background Information, such as your church involvement, education, career, and relevent leadership experience.

I believe leadership can start early in life or later in life. The many experiences I have had throughout my life have impacted me in finding my way on the journey that can have twists, turns, straightaways and hills. My initial relationship with Christ was built through many loving adults at Nevada UMC and my family. My leadership also began during this time as an officer in our local UMYF and active member in 4-H at the local and state level. I attended Central Methodist College and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. The relational connections I made at CMC created the opportunity for me to continue on my own faith journey at my own pace.

I moved to the “big city”(Kansas City area) and completed my graduate work at the University of Kansas, receiving my Master’s Degree in Social Work. I obtained my clinical license in Kansas and Missouri and currently work with children, adolescents, and families in a therapy setting.

My faith journey continued through church shopping after I moved to the Kansas City area which was a new and interesting experience. After receiving a personal invitation, I landed at North Spring UMC in Blue Springs where I served on staff as youth director. I also had the opportunity to serve in many other ways-coordinating youth and adult mission trips, teaching bible studies, and serving as Administrative Council chair after resigning from my youth director position due to the birth of my son.

Several life changes led me to respond to a request to support a new church start in Eastern Independence. During this two year process, the start team provided leadership in many ways that involved learning times, worship experiences, development of mission and vision, and service opportunities. As the new church start closed, it was a time of transition and renewal so I started attending Woods Chapel UMC. I am currently a member and attend worship in our contemporary service in the Worship Center.

Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to serve within the district and conference. On the conference level, I participated in the early years of Healthy Church Initiative consultation teams and currently serve on the Mission Council and Conference Lay Ministry Team. On the district level, I have been facilitating Lay Leadership Development since the inception and serving on the District Committee of Ordained Ministry. Most recently in 2014, I assumed the role of District Lay Leader for the Heartland District and serve on the District Mission Council.

Amid all this experience is my role as a mom and wife. These experiences of raising a ten year old son and thriving in a loving marriage, along with my professional life experience, provide me with the life experience to identify with families in our community and the seeking of a connection to something bigger.

 

Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.
I believe that it is a very personal and individualized process for each person as you grow in your faith development within your own spiritual journey. My practices have differed over time as I have grown in my faith. My current practices include: Prayer journal which lends to a more dedicated and intentional prayer time than in the past and allows to see how prayers are answered; the use of a daily devotional book; following the nudge for spontaneous prayer; use of prayer and three accountability partners when seeking discernment.

An ongoing engagement piece for me is worship. Many years ago a pastor posed a questions during his message. Did you come prepared this morning to experience God? This question has stuck with me so worship has become a place of expectation for me. I prepare myself for this time by seeking the Spirit, connecting through music and the message. When attending worship with different congregations in my district, I find it creates a more intentional invitation for me to just be present in the moment.

I think seeking to be a constant learner contributes to my growth as a leader as well. I love to read books recommended by pastors and others in leadership positions. In reading and having discussions, our thinking is stretched and the possibilities are endless.

 

Why do you seek election as a Lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference? If you’re interested in being elected only to Jurisdictional Conference, indicate that in your answer.
Due to the nature of my professional work, it is difficult for me to be away for two weeks so my interest is in only attending Jurisdictional Conference.

My interactions within the district and conference provide me with a deep understanding of the structure and ongoing work that is occurring in our conference. I believe in the strength of connection between clergy and laity and in this arena strong collaboration will need to occur. I can be a voice for our laity and use my leadership skills to support the delegation in our work together. Because of my professional life, I approach situations with an open mind, nonjudgmental approach that seeks to facilitate and problem solve. I believe my approach in preparation and discernment will be valuable to the team as well.


What issues do you think are particularly important for the future of the church, which General Conference should deal with in order to fulfill the mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?” Do you have a position on those issues?
With many issues before us, a response and conversation that centers in the message of love for Jesus and love for others should be the focal point for the hard discussions. I will not respond to specific issues for General Conference, as I acknowledged in the above answer that I am interested in representing our conference at Jurisdictional.

Since Jurisdictional Conference’s primary focus is to elect new bishops, what qualifications do you think the church needs in its future episcopal leaders?
Serving on the Mission Council has provided me the opportunity to see the functional aspects needed of a bishop. It is a role that requires a diverse skill set that is centered on discerning God’s will for our future. It should be an individual that can provide a clear vision to our conference. Within our system of directors and nominated committees, it is important to provide a united mission and vision as this provides a foundation of safety and trust that allows all levels of the conference to be focused on the work of growing God’s Kingdom. Along with being a visionary, qualities like understanding a culture of change, being an engaged communicator with others, and empowering others to live out the mission should be explored.

These qualities in support of our existing conference values should be considered when having conversations about the future episcopal leader for our conference.

 

Name Shannon Meister
Address 54873 State Hwy. T.
Edina, MO 63537
 
Day Phone 402-669-3848
Email shannonm06@hotmail.com
Local Church Edina UMC
District Mark Twain
 
Background Information, such as your church involvement, education, career, and relevent leadership experience.

I was born and raised United Methodist and have always been active in the church. I currently serve as the Co-associate Conference Lay Leader and am an active lay speaker. I serve on several local church committees, including vice-chair of administrative council and co-chair of the missions team. I have been a member of the Healthy College-aged Ministries Team, served as an adult sponsor to CCYM and had the privilege of helping with two Healthy Church Initiative Consultations. Furthermore, I served four years on the board of the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) in Nashville and on two delegations to General and Jurisdicitonal Conferences in 2008 and 2012.

My bachelor of science degree in public relations is from Northwest Missouri State University. This degree helps me perform my day job which is the education coordinator at a recycling center. I not only produce publications for residents but also have the opportunity to educate the public about recycling, good stewardship of our Earth and resources and “going green.”

During college I was very involved at the Wesley Foundation in various ministries, such as serving as a peer minister, participating in the ministry internship program and serving as a student representative for the Area Commission on Higher Education (ACHE). In high school, I was active in many levels of youth ministry, including serving on the Conference Council on Youth Ministries for several years. I feel that my involvement in the church and my current job complement each other very well.

 

Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.
I strive to pray without ceasing in all aspects of my life because it is at these times that I not only make better decisions but also am more confident about the decisions that are made. Whether at my secular job, in my various church work or during meetings and weekly worship, I constantly and consistently pray that God leads and guides my decisions as a compassionate individual. I utilize the Upper Room for daily devotions as well as various Advent, Lenten and other seasonal devotions to help keep God's word at the forefront of my daily life.

 

Why do you seek election as a Lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference? If you’re interested in being elected only to Jurisdictional Conference, indicate that in your answer.
I seek election as a lay delegate to Jurisdictional Conference only because my current job schedule does not allow me to attend all of General Conference. I have attended General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 2008 and 2012 and have found them to be both eye-opening and disheartening at times. Nevertheless, my passion and my heart are still for God and the United Methodist Church. I firmly believe that God is not finished with the United Methodist Church, and I want to help lead our denomination to grow beyond expectation.

I not only bring a unique, secular, young adult perspective but also have a pulse of what is happening in our conference through my involvement with the Lay Ministry Team. My current job allows me to stay abreast of various, current trends in our area, nation and world that apply to the people who we, as a church, are most trying to reach through our ministries. I know that it takes a lot of work and preparation to effectively be a part of our Missouri delegations, and I am truly committed to this task.


What issues do you think are particularly important for the future of the church, which General Conference should deal with in order to fulfill the mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?” Do you have a position on those issues?
We, in the United States, need to re-learn how to ignite passion in our country like our African brothers and sisters who are growing their churches exponentially and transforming their world. We need to learn how to be inviting and inclusive so that we are not just cliques that are waiting for people to come to us. We need a vision that is centered around mission. If we've learned anything over the past few years, especially in our own state when the tornadoes hit Joplin and chaos broke out in Ferguson, it's that we are a loving, giving people. We bind together in times of crisis to help and to reach out to others. We need to save our theological differences for the classrooms and truly spend more time creatnig relationships with others. It is then, and only then, that we will reach younger generations and more diverse generations to transform our world.

Since Jurisdictional Conference’s primary focus is to elect new bishops, what qualifications do you think the church needs in its future episcopal leaders?
As we seek new bishops, we need to search for leaders who understand the politics and issues of our church, country and world but who can efficiently and effectively maneuver the various politics and the “red tape” to truly make a difference. We need leaders who cast a vision of a growing denomination and hold themselves, our pastors and our laity accountable to make that happen. We need leaders who can lead by example and have a proven track record of all of the above. Our conference needs a bishop who loves God with all his/her heart, mind and strength and who can appreciate and respect all the experience that our older generations bring to the table yet who can help us reach new, younger, more diverse people, whom we often shy away from, to transform our church and our world to whatever it is that God has planned for us. It will take laity and pastors of all ages and backgrounds to help us achieve more than any of us can ever imagine by ourselves.

  

 

Name Ken Willard
Address 7305 Nelsons Mill Drive
O'Fallon, MO 63368
 
Day Phone 636.346.7172
Email Ken@L4T.org
Local Church Morning Star Church
District Gateway Regional
 
Background Information, such as your church involvement, education, career, and relevent leadership experience.

Member of Morning Star Church. Currently serving as a Connections Coach, on the parking lot team, and developing our Pathway to Leadership. I've been involved in leadership positions with my local churches for over 20 years.

Education: Masters of Adult Education & Training; Bachelor of Science in Business Management.
Professional Coach: Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coach Federation.
Church Consultant: Certified consultant with the Society for Church Consulting. Leadership Development: Experienced creating and delivering materials for pastors and laity leaders.
Author

 

Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.
Start every day with reading 3-4 chapters in the Bible and time with God. Lead a small group in my church. Attend a worship service at MSC or another church every week. Tithe everything God provides to my local church, and also support other causes. Serve in my local church as much as possible, usually 3-4 times a month. Intentionally work with one non-church client in order to share my witness with others. Teach and coach others to grow their own spiritual disciplines in churches all over the country.

 

Why do you seek election as a Lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference? If you’re interested in being elected only to Jurisdictional Conference, indicate that in your answer.
Currently only interested in being elected to the Jurisdictional Conference. I believe that God has been at work in me the past six years (working full-time in the Kingdom) and over the course of my life for this type of opportunity. I believe that I can bring a unique perspective and voice based on my work with many UMC churches all over our conference, and beyond.

 


What issues do you think are particularly important for the future of the church, which General Conference should deal with in order to fulfill the mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?” Do you have a position on those issues?
I'm very concerned that some of the issues getting the most attention right now may just be "noise" to keep us from focusing on our true mission. I really believe the most important issue facing us today is getting back to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ.

Since Jurisdictional Conference’s primary focus is to elect new bishops, what qualifications do you think the church needs in its future episcopal leaders?
Our future episcopal leaders need to be able to discern and cast the vision God has for their conference and for the overall UMC. We cannot stay where we are. We need leaders who are willing and able to make the hard decisions (in love) and lead us to greener pastures. We need leaders with a clear record of growing churches and the ability to both manage and lead people.

  

 

Name Jill Wondel
Address 609 Hunters Pointe,
Moberly, MO 65270
 
Day Phone 660-833-1771
Email jwondel@gmail.com
Local Church Trinity UMC, Moberly
District Mid-State
 
Background Information, such as your church involvement, education, career, and relevent leadership experience.
Hi! As a life-long Methodist, I'm passionate about Christ, the church, and God's work in the world. I'm actively involved in my local church. I also work for the Office of Mission, Service and Justice (at the Conference level) helping churches coordinate mission experiences. Last year, I co-coordinated our efforts as a conference to end deaths from malaria through the Imagine No Malaria campaign. At home, I teach yoga, enjoy a good mystery novel or two, and am looking forward to breaking in my new kayak.

 

Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.
I have found yoga to be an important spiritual discipline in my life, especially in relation to the practice of prayer and meditation. I also work to cultivate a life of gratitude. I try to regularly get away for retreat and participate in various mission opportunities as I'm able. I also find my friendships, small group conversations, and regular church attendance to be valuable in changing my heart to be more like God's.

 

Why do you seek election as a Lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference? If you’re interested in being elected only to Jurisdictional Conference, indicate that in your answer.
Honestly, because as I've prayed about this opportunity, I've felt God leading me to go. I hope that my experience uniquely qualifies me to represent a wide range of Methodists in Missouri, and enables me to vote in a way that helps the Methodist Church move into the next years of ministry with integrity and passion for God's call and vision for our communities.

 


What issues do you think are particularly important for the future of the church, which General Conference should deal with in order to fulfill the mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?” Do you have a position on those issues?
Jesus. That's the main thing. =) I'm concerned about simplifying the bureaucracy of the church, and making room in our larger organization for creativity and innovation in the local church.

Since Jurisdictional Conference’s primary focus is to elect new bishops, what qualifications do you think the church needs in its future episcopal leaders?
I hope that our future leaders will be innovative in the way they approach ministry and that they will make room for the leadership in their conference to try new things, to fail, and to lead us into this next generation with an openness to change.

 

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