In an effort to get back to the basics of Christian faith -- Loving God and Loving Neighbor--through local church ministries, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi on April 16 announced an experimental regional leadership model that pairs lay and clergy staff assigned to work part-time in a specific region to better equip congregations for disciple-making.
In the Regional Staff Leadership Model, one staff member will serve as a Regional Coordinator of Spiritual Formation (Love God) and the other as Regional Coordinator of Community Engagement (Love Neighbor). To start, two regions, covering four districts, were identified for the experiment: The Erie-Meadville/Kane region and the Butler/Pittsburgh region. The regional staff will work with local churches to: 1) identify spiritual gifts / strengths for ministry, and 2) better understand the community and its needs. The goal is to help local churches more effectively apply their gifts/strengths in their community – all to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Read more about the Regional Leadership Model.
The model was proposed by the Conference Sustainability Task Force, a diverse group of laity and clergy who serve in leadership positions throughout Western PA. It's one of two experimental leadership models proposed by the task force. The other is a Shared District Leadership model in which Rev. Jodie Smith will be the Superintendent for both the Franklin and Indiana districts, with assistance from Rev. Bob Zilhaver, the Connellsville DS, and support from an experienced elder serving part-time as a Ministry Assistant in each of the three districts.
Both models, the Bishop said, underscore "the importance of innovation, focusing on ministry and mission, good stewardship of our resources and the courage to take action even during times of uncertainty." Throughout the pandemic, she said, "God has been faithful to us as we developed new ways of being, using the power of our connection to support and encourage each other. We have learned to manage change, practice good stewardship and look to the future, following God’s lead as we navigate through uncharted waters."
More information and Frequently Asked Questions about both experimental leadership models can be found at wpaumc.org/sustainability.