Church Name: The Way (Wentzville)
District: Gateway Regional
Share any relevant background information including leadership experience both within the church and in other areas of your life.
I have been a member of the Methodist/United Methodist Church my whole life serving in various leadership roles: Church Lay Leader, Stewardship Chair, Building Committee Chair, and member of the Pastor Parish Committee. Beyond the local church, I have served as the President of the United Methodist Church’s Association of Conference Directors of Lay Speaking Ministries, and Board Member of the General Commission on Religion and Race. I have been an elected delegate for the Missouri Conference to General and Jurisdictional Conferences of the United Methodist Church in 2019, 2016, 2012, 2008, and 2004. In the Missouri Conference I have served as the Conference Director of Lay Speaking Ministries, a member of the Episcopacy Committee and Mission Council. Currently, I serve as the Gateway Regional District Lay Leader and as a Board Member of the United Methodist Publishing House. I also serve as a Lay Servant at Bethel UMC in Montgomery City, preaching once a month.
Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.
My daily devotion takes place on my exercise bike as I work on my cardiovascular health. I read the Upper Room Disciplines devotion book as well as another devotional book. Generally, I add a book with my devotions that helps with improving and understanding parts of my spiritual life. Currently, I am reading: Entering The Passion of Jesus by Amy Jill Levine. I then end my devotion time with a conversation with the Lord. I use a prayer book that I draw from throughout the day. I attend worship on a weekly basis and I preach once a month at Bethel UMC in Montgomery County. Also, I take Lay Servant courses to further my understanding of the Bible and my role as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I attend the workshops at Annual Conference each year as well.
Why do you seek election as a lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference?
I have been lead to be a delegate each time by my belief that the United Methodist Church is more about the local church than the General Church. If we are to grow our conferences and the United Methodist Church, it will begin and be sustained by the local church no matter the size. We in the Missouri Conference, with the help of our bishop, clergy and laity, have been able to make this work. Maybe the rest of the UMC should follow our lead. My membership as a United Methodist has been diverse, attending city, suburban and rural churches of different sizes. I believe that we all are part of the community of God and working together will succeed in bringing disciples to Jesus.
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”?
I have been part of the Missouri delegation since 2000 when I was an alternate to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. In 2004 I was a delegate to General Conference. I have watched and suffered through this impasse that we have had over human sexuality for almost 20 years. With some serious negotiations and planning, I believe that we will find a solution in the 2020 General Conference. I feel that with my experience I can assist with this process. My hope is that no matter the solution this will allow us at the conference and local level to continue our mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”.
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?
I believe all bishops should have a love of the church and Jesus Christ. They must be compassionate, empathetic, and strong as a leader. A bishop needs to be able to enable their episcopal area to grow. They must be able to plant new churches, revitalize old churches and enable others to view the outside world as their mission fields. I believe that they also must have a healthy balance of work, Sabbath and family in their lives.