On September 26, a Circuit Clergy Leader and Circuit Lay Leader Training will be the first step to engage more fully in our mission to inspire, equip, and connect our communities of faith to cultivate world-changing disciples of Jesus Christ.
This training begins the circuit ministry development, rolling out for all Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist churches (IAUMC) in 2021. Each circuit is made up of 10-12 churches and will be co-led by this circuit team of two.
“We heard you say at the Vision 2032 gatherings that you desired a connection through authentic and faith-filled relationships. We also heard you desired the autonomy to build mission and ministry programs to address your critical community, regional, and worldwide needs. You seek to have deeper spiritual learning, more leadership development, a way to share best practices, and authentic and meaningful ministry partnerships,” said Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson, Director of Congregational Excellence. “The desire for the creation of circuits is to increase clergy and lay leadership development and help churches create ministry opportunities tailored to their unique missional needs.”
Circuit Ministry — Reclaiming our Past and Leading us Forward
From the early days of Methodism, all the way back to John and Charles Wesley, circuits have been vital in spreading the Gospel.
Circuits multiplied when the number of leaders supervised exceeded the capacity to manage them. These relationships of ongoing support and accountability to a life in Christ was what defined the “Connexion.” The circuits structure in the Iowa Annual Conference will be in place for many of the same reasons.
“This is the British spelling,” said Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence. “It puts Christ in the center of connection as we hope circuits will.”
At the 2020 Iowa Annual Conference, the body voted and approved decreasing districts and district superintendents from eight to five. This reduction increased the number of churches superintendents will be overseeing.
“Circuits not only help the superintendents, clergy, and laity to work together collectively but also give the Iowa Conference a way to seek new ministry opportunities and revitalization,” said Rev. Bill Poland, Director of New Communities of Faith.
Circuit ministry is also rooted in the IAUMC’s strategic priorities to create world-transforming communities of faith, equip ourselves and others as transformational leaders, and direct our resources to common goals.
“‘Accountability’ has never been a popular word with me, but the truth is, nearly every significant growth point in my life and ministry has come as the result of mutual accountability. I believe circuit ministry can be a remarkable catalyst for growth,” said Rev. Paul Wilcox, Transitional Superintendent.
Circuit Ministry—Loving, Learning, Leading (L3)
Greg Survant and Christin Nevins of the Spiritual Leadership Inc. (SLI) has coached the work of the IAUMC Circuit Transitional Team. SLI, an organization that seeks to help church leaders grow and put their ideas into action, began its relationship with the Iowa Conference in December 2015.
“Spiritual formation is central to everything we do. The Loving, Learning, and Leading (L3) model will help clergy, laity, and churches to grow in their faithfulness as well as their fruitfulness for God,” said Nevins. “The Circuit Clergy Leader and Circuit Lay Leader Training will develop leaders who support, work, and love each other. These connections move people into action, multiply disciple-making, and create a life-changing journey for everyone. We are impressed by how the Iowa Annual Conference leaders worked with us to develop the circuit training curriculum and look forward to seeing the fruitfulness of their efforts.”
Circuit Ministry — Connected Through Faith
The members of the IAUMC Circuit Ministry Transition Team are Rev. Bill Poland, Director of New Communities of Faith, Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson, Director of Congregational Excellence, Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck, Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence, Rev. Paul Wilcox. Transitional Superintendent and Rev. Ryan Christenson, Associate for Congregational Excellence.
“COVID-19 has put enormous challenges in front of our churches, clergy, and laity. The challenging farm economy and natural disasters have added to that. Yoking churches together through circuit ministry will be a welcome connection for many of our churches and leaders. I am confident in the Circuit Ministry Transition Team that through their leadership and training, that our relationships as United Methodists will be the hope for the future the world needs,” said Bishop Laurie Haller.
If you would like more information about circuit ministry formation for the Iowa Annual Conference, please contact any member of the IAUMC Circuit Ministry Transition Team.