Missouri Annual Conference Chooses New Center Director


Media Contact: Kim Jenne, Director of Connectional Ministries
(573) 441-1770
Missouri Annual Conference Chooses New Center Director
COLUMBIA, Mo. – January 26, 2017 – Bishop Robert Farr announced his intent to appoint the Rev. Dr. Roger Ross as Director for the Center of Congregational Excellence. Ross is currently serving as senior pastor of First UMC in Springfield, Illinois in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. The cross-conference appointment comes with the blessing of Bishop Frank Beard.

The position has been vacant since Farr was elected to the episcopacy in July at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Wichita, Kansas. Ross rose to the top of the field after a national search. He expects to start in the new role on July 1.

“The Center for Congregational Excellence is one of our priority areas for the Missouri Annual Conference,” said Bishop Farr. “Roger has a great track record in planting and transforming congregations. We think he will be a great fit to our team and help us discern the next season of connecting the Gospel with new people in new places.”

Originally from Cambridge, Illinois, Ross has served local churches from Texas to the British Channel Island of Guernsey to his home state of Illinois, where he has been involved in starting two new churches. Since 2007, he has served as senior pastor of First UMC in Springfield. He is the author of Meet the Goodpeople: Wesley’s 7 Ways to Share Faith and has contributed to several publications and journals. Married to Leanne Klein Ross, they have two children, Zach, who attends the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Jane, who is a freshman at Olivet Nazarene University.

“The Missouri Annual Conference is a well-known leader in our connection at effectively starting new churches and transforming existing churches,” Ross said. “I can’t wait to join the team, roll up my sleeves with church planters, pastors, and laypersons, and find fresh ways to multiply the life-changing love of Jesus Christ.”

Additionally, Bishop Farr announced today that Rev. Lia McIntosh has been promoted to Associate Director for the Center of Congregational Excellence. McIntosh will continue her work from Kansas City and Rev. Suzanne Nicholson will continue to serve as Mission Strategist from St. Louis. Both McIntosh and Nicholson continue to provide day-to-day management and accountability of the Center with oversight from Rev. Kim Jenne, Director of Connectional Ministries, during the transition.

The United Methodist Church in Missouri is made up of almost 800 local churches, approximately 1,000 retired and active clergy and 80,000 weekly worshippers. In the past 10 years, the Center for Congregational Excellence has guided 35 church starts into life and has overseen over 150 Healthy Church consultations in the Missouri Conference. Learn more about the United Methodist Church in Missouri at www.moumethodist.org.