Candidates for ministry in the Iowa Annual Conference participated in a retreat as part of their candidacy process on Saturday, February 1 at the Conference Center.
Recently redesigned, the Candidacy Retreat is required for all candidates in process, but it is also an opportunity for those considering their call to ministry to speak with others in process or in positions of leadership.
“It’s a place of discernment where we focus on the steps of the candidacy process among other avenues of ministry,” Director of Ministerial Services Lisa Steel said. “It is really a chance to explore ministry and find the right path for your call.”
“We are seeing a change in the trends as more individuals are going the licensed local pastor route instead of ordination,” Steel said. “Many choose to become licensed local pastors (LLP’s), active laypersons or serve in extension ministry. It is predicted in the next few years that we will reach a point where we have more LLP’s than Elders serving.”
While at the retreat, candidates explored and discerned their calling, worked on their candidacy statement, heard from a ministry panel, met others at a similar stage of the process, and connected with Board of Ordained Ministry members and Conference staff.
The panel discussion included Full-Time Licensed Local Pastor Doug Amis, serving Des Moines Sheridan UMC and Wesley UMC in Des Moines; Board of Ordained Ministry Chair and Full Elder Chad Jennings, serving St. Luke’s UMC in Newton; Retired Full Deacon Brenda Hobson; and Full Elder Andrea Severson, serving in an extension ministry position with the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center.
“An important part of the Candidacy Retreat is having those persons share their roles with our candidates, so that we can better serve them and help them make connections during the process,” said Ann Trimble-Ray, chair of the CARE (Candidacy Advising Residency in Ministry Encouraging) Team on the Board of Ordained Ministry and lay-member of Early United Methodist Church.
“We think it was a very successful weekend,” she added. “We hope to continue to inspire and encourage folks in the discernment process.”
Trimble-Ray encourages anyone that’s feeling God’s call to reach out to their pastor, district superintendent, or the Board of Ordained Ministry to learn more. It doesn’t matter what stage in your life you are either.
“In our conference, in our denomination, and I think especially in our region, our candidates are sometimes college students, but many are often second or third-career folks,” she said. “We have a wide variety of ages, occupations and interests.”
You can contact Ann Trimble-Ray by emailing her
or learn more about the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Candidacy Process by visiting its webpage