Brian Hammons

Church Name: Schweitzer

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

Jurisdiction Lay Leader, Mission Council, Episcopacy Committee Chair, certified Lay Servant, past Conference Lay Leader, past CF&A Chair, GC/JC delegation 2X; Life-long Methodist and active member / leader in UM churches where I’ve lived; Degrees in Business and Law, a few seminary courses; President / CEO of family Black Walnut business in Stockton; Service and leadership with several community and state organizations; Follower of Jesus Christ, Husband, Father, Son, Friend

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 spiritual growth begins anew each morning with quiet time of reading scripture and devotional messages from the Upper Room Disciplines and the Bible in One Year (again), periodic reading of daily Seedbed devotional, plus reflections and prayer.  Weekly worship with singing (including choir), periodic communion, sharing in my Sunday morning class and CDG group, and short prayers throughout the day also fuel my growth.  Plus giving through the church and other ministries.  Reading books by inspired leaders and engaging in periodic lay leadership courses also provide insight and ideas for leadership.

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

The 2020 conferences will be very important for the future of our church following the 2019 conference.  We must discern God’s vision for the future of the Methodist movement, treating each other respectfully.  I can humbly offer reasoned perspective, a focus upon local congregations, experienced leadership, and connections with leaders in other conferences.  Having led the 2016 and 2019 delegations, I’m willing to offer organizational experience and understanding of process to our 2020 delegation and clergy leader.

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”?

Our delegates must maintain a positive, hopeful and encouraging spirit, working collaboratively, with respect for one another and the process – which I will do.  Somehow, we’ve got to recapture the spiritual energy of the Methodist movement that can change the world.  

Also, I will continue to emphasize that the witness of the laity is key to renewal of that movement and fulfillment of the Mission.   

The church will need to deal with many petitions and proposals for change, hopefully in a respectful way.  My experience and background in law and business can be helpful there.  And I believe it’s important to uphold a faithful Wesleyan understanding of scriptural truth, expectations of accountability, and excellence as we make decisions.

I’d especially like to help keep Jesus the “Main Thing” in grace and truth, which can transform our hurting 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?

Future bishops need to be exemplary leaders, reflecting the five expectations we have of leaders in Missouri – and I would add the following descriptors:

  1. Christ-centered – spiritually engaged, solidly Wesleyan in theology;
  2. Excellence – strong record of teaching, preaching, and leading in congregations and conference roles;
  3. Accountable – willing to listen, allow review, take responsibility, and work within prescribed boundaries;
  4. Fruitful – consistent record of growth in congregations leading people to follow Jesus;
  5. Collaboration – effective work with colleagues, laity, and staff to accomplish goals, relational with humble boldness, and able to build bridges, maintain a non-anxious focus, and inspire younger leaders.