Design Taskforce: Form to Transform


October 10, 2014

By Tim Frasher

The Design Taskforce Charter states, “The Conference Design Task force is to advise the Conference regarding a preferred method through which strategy 3b of the Strategic Initiatives of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church as approved at the Annual Meeting in June 2013 will be accomplished.”

The Design Taskforce has been hard at work behind the scenes in order to faithfully accomplish our task.  During the first year we studied and sought to understand: the Strategic Priorities (specifically section 3b 1-5), the mission and vision of the Iowa Annual Conference, the current organizational and staffing model of the Iowa Annual Conference, any work done since 2000 in the Iowa Annual Conference that impacts workforce design, the operating budget of the Annual Conference, the “granting” structure, and the strategies for ministries of the annual Conference.

During the 2014 session of Annual Conference I laid out our work for the upcoming year.  As seen below: 

During the 2014 Annual Conference

  • The Design Task Force presents the process (not the design) at the Annual Conference Session.
  • Request for the Bishop to bolster committee immediately with additional persons.

Annual Conference-August 31st

  • Design Taskforce Facilitator & members of the Design Taskforce will meet with at least three full committees face-to-face. 

September- November 10th

  • The Design Task Force will design, advertise, and hold events in order to receive input from clergy & laity.
  • The Design Task Force will meet to process and integrate inputs from meetings, correspondence, etc. into a “final” design.

December 2015

  • The Design Task Force holds final meeting with the Strategic Priorities Implementation Team to integrate the final plan into legislative format.

January-March 2015

  • The Design Task Force will present the final version to various public forums.

Annual Conference 2015

  • The Design Task Force’s final version will be taken to Annual Conference.

I am pleased to announce that we are on schedule and since Annual Conference: our committee has welcomed additional lay & clergy, we have met with at least three full committees face-to-face, and we are finalizing dates to hold events in order to receive input from clergy & laity (We are calling these meetings ‘Sharing/Information Gathering’ sessions). 

Since Annual Conference this group has met each month via conference call or in person, and the meetings have ranged in length from 2 to 8 hours.  At this time our group has had formal interviews with the Bishop, both Assistants to the Bishop, many of the Field Outreach Ministers, a representation from the Conference Superintendents, and the Former Leadership Development Minister for Evangelism and New Ministry Development.  We have also been in conversation informally with other Conference staff, lay, and clergy.

Through our conversations we have created a flowchart that will serve as our draft for the ‘Sharing/Information Gathering’ sessions.  It is our hope that this draft will function as a straw-man proposal which will generate discussion.  After our ‘Sharing/Information Gathering’ sessions we will come back to the table and create a final version for the 2015 session of Annual Conference. 

*Rev. Tim Frasher is the chairperson of the Design Taskforce