Larry Fagan

Church Name: Good Shepherd (Kansas City)

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

I have held leadership positions in the local church, the District and the Annual conference. They have ranged from Sunday School teacher, trustee, Stewardship Chairperson, Church Council, District Committee on Ministry, Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, Mission Council, Episcopacy Committee, and Conference Lay Leader. I participated on the Pathways committee that sought to reorganize and empower ministry at the local church level. I currently serve on the Episcopacy Committee and CBOM. I have been a member of multiple GC and JC delegations … elected to lead two of them. I helped start a Walk to Emmaus community in the KC area. I have served as a Trustee at Central Methodist University. I co-own an electrical contracting company, have a Masters of Engineering degree, and am a licensed Professional Engineer. Previous leadership positions have required a blend of adaptive as well as technical approaches to problem solving; both will be integral in discerning our preferred future. 

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

Each morning I ask God what God desires of me that day.  I close each day with a prayer of thanks for where God led me or bailed me out when I detoured.  My daily morning discipline this year is focusing on Christian leadership through the lens of John Maxwell’s “A Leader’s Heart”.  I read a chapter of Scripture illuminating the topic of each day.  Closing with an extended prayer time starts my day in a way that maximizes inner peace and grounds me for what’s ahead.  Additionally, I try to stay up-to-date with the “workings” of the General Church thru reading multiple sources … blogs, position papers, news releases and discussions with other UMC leaders that I communicate with on a regular basis.  I participate in an accountability group (monthly), originally organized to assist a pastor, but serves to call me into accountability as well.

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

We are at a “crossroads” in the UMC, as we discern the church’s position on the issue of sexuality.  Attempted technical “fixes” to date have simply “kicked the can down the road”.  It will require adaptive change for the church to move forward.  In all likelihood, our church will not look the same.  Our past has enjoyed some of the best in “institutional” leadership but the future will require “movement” leaders; leaders who can navigate a pathway that perfects relevance to new generations while keeping the primary focus on Making Disciples.  My experience and perspective may be of help balancing a delegation in discerning that future pathway.

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”?

My focusing tool (since my first GC experience) has been … “The Main Thing is to keep the main thing the main thing, and the main thing is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”.  It was offered in response to my perception of a church going in many different directions and needing to be reminded that each direction is best served if lived out thru the lens of our Mission.  Today, it may be the only focus that can keep a deeply divided church together, permitting room for different opinions on the issue of sexuality, but giving our primary attention to the Mission … Making Disciples.

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?

Leaders with integrity … who believe the message of Jesus Christ doesn’t change, but understand the vehicle for delivery must change to effectively reach the next generation; servant leaders who lead with humility and grace; leaders who understand when adaptive change is needed over technical; and leaders who value effectiveness and fruitfulness … willing to hold themselves (as well as those they empower to lead) accountable to the Mission.  This assumes that a person seeking the Episcopacy has already demonstrated a deep and rich Spirituality.  Finally, an Episcopal candidate should come with a proven record of church growth.