Conference Alignment: Next Steps

Conference Alignment: Next Steps

February 26, 2018

The Iowa Conference has been on a journey towards greater health for the past several years. From the adoption of our strategic priorities in 2014 to the approval of the Conference mission and vision in 2016, operational teams across the state have worked diligently to align our systems and structure to create and support vital communities of faith and transformational leaders. The healthy process implemented through these operational teams has equipped our leaders and our local churches to adapt and thrive in our current and ever-changing ministry environment

Most recently, the Aligning Resources Team, the task group assigned with aligning the Conference staff to our priorities, mission, vision and goals, brought their staffing recommendations to the Bishop's and Cabinet Operational Teams on January 31, 2018. The Cabinet Operational Team and Bishop’s Operational Team share overall responsibility for the staff alignment process. After a time of reflection, prayer, and input from others, it was determined by consensus to implement the following recommendations proposed by the Aligning Resources Team:

Three positions have been created to direct the work of new faith communities, revitalization, and leadership development as outlined in our strategic priorities:
  • Director of New Faith Communities
  • Director of Congregational Excellence
  • Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence

The Rev. Bill Poland assumed the position of Director of New Faith Communities beginning January 1, 2018, and the other two director positions will be filled in time for a July 1, 2018 start. The job descriptions for the Congregational Excellence and Clergy and Leadership Excellence are available for review on the Conference website at: 

Bishop Laurie will be accepting names for consideration as she prepares to appoint/assign the two new directors. Qualified candidates must possess the following experience and qualities: demonstrated fruitfulness in a ministry setting, emotional intelligence, flexibility, excellent listening skills, strategic thinking, a strong sense of connectionalism, collaboration, team building skills, and servant leadership. If you have suggestions about individuals you believe have the gifts to serve in either of the director roles, or if you would like to nominate yourself, please use the following links by March 9, 2018: Beginning July 1, 2018, the current Field Outreach Ministers will become Interim Associates of Congregational Excellence, reporting to the Director of Congregational Excellence. The Field Outreach Ministers currently hold the responsibility of congregational revitalization across the Iowa Conference, and a transition plan will be developed with the help of existing staff.  Interim Associates will work closely with local churches through the transition and implementation of a congregational excellence strategy. The transition will be completed by July 1, 2019, with the hire of four Associates of Congregational Excellence.

Effective July 1, 2018, the responsibilities of our current Assistants to the Bishop will be merged into one Assistant to the Bishop/Director of Connectional Ministries position. A survey of other UMC conference structures encouraged the Aligning Resources Team to recommend this shift in our current structure. Bob Burkhart, Interim Assistant to the Bishop for Administration, and Harlan Gillespie, incoming Assistant to the Bishop, will work with current staff and related boards and agencies to develop and monitor a transition plan. 
As we continue this journey of transformation for the health of the Iowa Conference, information will be shared in a timely manner and through a variety of communication channels.

Many thanks to all of you for your faithfulness and commitment to being the Difference Makers in and around our world!

Bishop Laurie

Bishop Laurie Haller
Resident Bishop, Iowa Annual Conference

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