July 01, 2017

Due to Rev. Karen Hayden’s emergency hospitalization and surgery, Bishop Farr asked Nate Berneking to present the Pastoral Excellence report. “The Office of Pastoral Excellence is your resource, and I am so honored to give this report.”

The Center for Pastoral Excellence facilitates programs for people who are interested in ministry and interviews those who have a specific call to ministry in pastoral roles as elders and deacons with the Board of Ordained Ministries. Berneking emphasized the importance of the new Conference Vision that calls for outward focus and inward spiritual growth.

The process of entering ministry is long and confusing, he acknowledged. The Center of Pastoral Excellence simplifies it by offering several entering points.

All we need to do is to encourage young adults to ask their pastors and register on the conference website. There are two events per year to accommodate their interest. College students rarely think of a clergy career. We created a fantastic program for them - Crossroads Internship. What does it do for a local church? An intern might connect your church with your neighborhood.

It is easy to apply to receive an intern for summer. The local church provides $2,000 for the summer internship and housing, and the conference will supplement it with $1,000. If you choose to become a Crossroads supporter, give those interns your love. By doing this, you will support another entering point to bring new people to ministry.

The Missouri Conference also has a fellowship program. Katrina Drew, Chelsey Hillyer, Angie McNeil, and Peter Norton, the Conference Fellows, learn how to start something new. Fourteen churches participate in this program. Please support the program with your prayers.

The candidacy program is difficult, and we were not always providing good mentorship. The conference provides training to 177 clergy who wanted to become mentors. In addition, both Pastoral Excellence and Congregational Excellence has focused on coaching. There are two trainings scheduled for those who are interested in coaching young candidates: August 22 – basic training and September 11 – coaching for teams and groups.

The office supports various spiritual initiatives such as Soul Connection for laity and clergy to empower spiritual conversations and spiritual lives.

Rev. Jenn Klein just returned with a group from Camino. The group walked several kilometers per day, and it was a powerful and prayerful experience.

Another example is Imago Dei developed by Rev. Jim Simpson. This is his life work that he brought to fruition; nobody provides more spiritual guidance than him. The group will meet in August at the Lake of Ozarks. You can find more information on the conference website. Saint Paul School of Theology offers the Academy for Spiritual Formation.

Karen Hayden and her staff Susan Brandes, Jenny Gragg, and Trudy McManus do a fabulous job facilitating numerous opportunities for those who want to pursue ministry and those who want to serve with excellence.