Regional Staff Pilot Program

Frequently Asked Questions


Is Annual Conference approval required for this Regional Staff Program?

Not at this point. Since this is just a pilot (or trial) program, Annual Conference approval is not required at this time. This program grew out of the work of the Sustainability Task Force formed by the Coordinating Cabinet. After the pilot program is evaluated, if there is a desire to make the Regional Staff model permanent, the appropriate Annual Conference approval will be sought.

Where is the funding coming from to cover the costs of this program?

For 2021, the Pittsburgh-Butler pilot program will use existing Conference staff to handle the needed responsibilities. The staff persons will split their time 50/50 between Conference responsibilities and the new responsibilities of the pilot program. The balance of their Conference responsibilities will be evaluated and cared for by other Conference staff as needed. By using existing staff, no “new” funding will be needed for the initial pilot program as those salaries are already part of the current approved budget.

The Erie-Meadville/Kane pilot will be funded from savings realized within the District Superintendent/Cabinet and/or Program budgets and/or income from discretionary investment income (Endowment/Other Income). 

For 2022, the Pittsburgh-Butler costs are funded through the proposed budget as there were no changes to the existing Program Staff personnel. The Erie-Meadville/Kane pilot will continue to be funded in the same fashion as described for 2021 (i.e., savings from other DS, Cabinet and/or Program line items, other income or increases to reserve budgets).

What is the purpose of the Regional Staff Program?

The purpose is ultimately to provide a resource to help local churches to more deeply “Love God & Love Neighbor”.  The Regional Coordinator of Spiritual Formation (Love God) will work with local churches to assist in efforts to help their members grow deeper in their relationship with God both individually and as a congregation. The Regional Coordinator of Community Engagement (Love Neighbor) will work with local churches in using resources to get to know the communities in where they are located, discerning what is needed and determining how to best serve the community. Together, the aim of these two positions is to help our local churches live more fully into our mission to “provide leadership, connection and resources to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”.

Was the Conference Personnel Committee involved in development of the Regional Staff Pilot Program?

Yes.  The concept behind the Regional Staff Pilot Program was reviewed with the Conference Personnel Committee and there was consensus agreement.  They have also been part of the process to review and provide feedback on the interim job descriptions for the Ministry Assistants (Assisting Elders in the Shared District Leadership Model), Regional Coordinator of Spiritual Formation, and Regional Coordinator of Community Engagement.

How were the regions for these pilot programs selected?

The Pittsburgh-Butler region was chosen because of its proximity to the Conference Center. This enables existing staff to be used as coordinators in the pilot program. The Erie/Meadville-Kane region was chosen to gauge whether adaptations for the program will be needed in different settings (e.g., rural vs. urban).

With all the uncertainty surrounding the United Methodist denomination, why do this now?

As we wait to see what happens to our denomination once the 2020 General Conference is held, the fact remains that there are people who need to hear about and experience the love of Jesus Christ through us, the churches and members of the Western Pennsylvania Conference. That is a mission that cannot wait.This time offers us an opportunity to try something new and learn from it. The experiment does not require any permanent changes to our structure, staff or budget.

Why should I be interested if my district is not involved in one of the pilot programs?

You can watch and learn from the two pilot programs. Now is the time to see how they function, how local churches in those districts benefit, and how the model would be helpful in your area. If the projects are successful, staying informed now might help your district to launch it and build momentum for implementation across the conference.

If my district is not included in the pilot programs, who can I tell about my church’s interest?

If your district is not involved in the Regional Staff Pilot Program and your church is interested in being included if the program is expanded, tell your District Superintendent, who can relay your interest to the Sustainability Task Force.

To whom will the Regional Coordinators report?

The Regional Coordinators will work under the supervision of the Conference Director of Connectional Ministries in consultation with the applicable District Superintendents.