Bishop Bigham-Tsai jump-starts getting to know the Iowa Conference through onboarding

Bishop Bigham-Tsai jump-starts getting to know the Iowa Conference through onboarding

January 13, 2023

Rev. Karen Horan led Bishop Bigham-Tsai, members of her extended cabinet, and 33 Iowa pastors through an onboarding process on January 9 and 10, 2023. Because Bishop Bigham-Tsai began leading Iowa in January instead of September, using onboarding with an outside consultant can help fast-track her understanding of the Iowa Conference and its leaders.
Onboarding has been adapted for ministry settings by Claire Bowen, a human resource specialist and longtime member of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta, GA.
The sessions with Bishop Bigham-Tsai were facilitated by the Rev. Karen Horan, who has been trained by Ms. Bowen. Horan is the Director of Creating/Vitalizing Congregations and Developing Leaders at the Rio Texas Conference.
Horan met with the extended cabinet and, in a later session with the pastors, without the bishop in the room. They answered a series of questions and recorded answers anonymously. Horan then met privately with Bishop Bigham-Tsai, going through the questions, and identifying key themes. Afterward, they joined in an honest and open discussion.
“It was nice hearing from Bishop Kennetha about her passion for ministry and her excitement to work with cabinet, clergy, and laity to create a vision moving forward,” said Andrea Kraushaar, pastor at West Des Moines UMC. 

The onboarding process helps create a safe environment and can be invaluable in assisting a bishop in building relationships quickly.

"I appreciated Bishop Kennetha beginning her ministry in Iowa by listening, and I was excited to hear her love for Jesus and the local church," said Mike Janes, pastor at Ankeny First UMC.

To learn more about Iowa’s bishop, visit her website at