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Ivan James

Church Name: Asbury (St. Louis)
Gateway Central

Share any relevant background information including leadership experience both within the church and in other areas of your life.

  • Certified Lay Minister (CLM) presently serving as the Lay Pastor of Asbury & Samaritan UMC in the Gateway Central District. 
  • Conference: President - MO Conference Board of Trustees. Received the 2015 MO Conference Unity Award presented by the Values Team.
  • District: Trustees, Building & Church Location, Lay Leadership Development Training. Currently: dCOM.
  • Local Church: Lay Leader, SPRC, Administrative Board/Church Council, Trustees, Lay Delegate.
  • Delegate Jurisdictional Conference 2012. Delegate General & Jurisdictional Conference 2016 & General Conference Special Session 2019

Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.

Intentional faith development is what I do to help me in my walk with God. As a leader I am engaged in activities which are about joining with other people of faith to share experiences of life and faith designed to help and to challenge each other. 

In addition to weekly worship I am engaged in daily Scripture reading, participate in a peer weekly bible discussion, daily phone recorded devotion, volunteer in a feeding youth program, and visit sick members of the congregation. I also read at least two books a month, one on spiritual development and one on leadership development. The most recent books I have read or plan to read are “We are all Ministers” (Moving members from pews to purpose) by Dr. Carlton Caldwell , ”The Laity Fix”(An Inclusive Approach To Church Growth) by Lynda Byrd and “Redeeming CONFLICT” (12 Habits for Christian Leaders) by Ann M. Garrido

Why do you seek election as a lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference?

I served as a Jurisdictional Delegate 2012 and 2016 and General Conference Delegate in 2016 and General Conference 2019 -Special Session. Especially after the 2019 Special Session I was not sure I wanted to be a delegate again but through prayer and discernment decided to place my name in nomination again. From my previous experience as a delegate at Conference I have a better understanding of the process and as such I feel I can do a better job of representing the Missouri Conference and the church as a whole. I feel I have the experience to represent the view of the laity of Missouri Conference. As a Certified Lay Minister, I also understand clergy perspective on many issues. I want to participate in 2020 General Conference to help plan for the future of our denomination.

How will your involvement in General Conference 2020 support the church to fulfill the mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”?

Being a delegate to General Conference is an honor and privilege and is a part of my calling to be a leader. My prayer for this 2020 Conference is that the UMC be an inclusive Church for all of God’s children that are made in His image. I hope my participation in the 2020 GC can help the UMC realize the need to break down the walls that prevents us from fulfilling our mission of transforming the lives of people in the name of Jesus.

Since the primary focus for Jurisdictional Conference is to elect new bishops, what qualifications do you think the church needs in its future episcopal leaders?

Qualifications for a Bishop

  • Trust in God
  • Have an undying love for Christ, 
  • Be a visionary, action-oriented leader. 
  • Lead Conference into a shared mission, vision and direction. 
  • Respects the diversity of God's people regardless of gender, age, economics, ethnicity and sexual orientation,
  • Have an entrepreneurial spirit and encourages holy risk-taking to help equip congregations for creative evangelism and mission in the communities they serve.
  • Do not take themselves too seriously
  • Have physical stamina
  • Demonstrate a collaborative leadership style. .
  • Courageously engage in healthy conflict resolution.