This was written by Conference Minister Rev. Bill Worley for the July 18, 2018 eNews conference-wide email.
One of the goals of the PSEC 20/20 vision plan was the formation of a Member In Discernment Academy. That goal had its Genesis in consensus about the crisis of leadership that affects all levels of our community and culture and particularly the church. I have said, and will continue to say, that we must change the way we identify, train and support church leaders if we intend to change the world for good and for God.
This past weekend seventeen Members in Discernment (MIDs) traveled to The Kirkridge Retreat Center in Bangor, Pennsylvania with with seven currently serving ministers. The purpose of the weekend was to connect MIDs with each other, some of the best practitioners of parish ministry, as well as conference staff and members of Committees on Ministry. In workshops and role plays and worship, we addressed the challenges of preparing for ministry, the need for crystal clarity about the call to ministry, and how to meet gaps in preparation for serving in various ministry settings.
I learned many things. First, our MIDs have an incredible heart for the gospel, a deep care for people and a strong desire to bring their giftedness to the brokenness of the world. Second, I learned that currently serving clergy folks understand and are equipped to train MIDs as well as any seminary faculty. Third, I learned that Members In Discernment do not have the full support of the church and that needs to change. Finally, everything that we need to meet the leadership crisis of the church is already in the church if we work together. I cannot tell you how excited and hopeful that makes me!
Rev. William P Worley