... Sabbatical is over!
Yesterday I started a new job as Chief Ministry Officer at the Intentional Growth Center (IGC) in Lake Junaluska.
IGC is an agency of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the UMC that offers continuing education and leadership training for clergy and lay church leaders. Its mission is to "increase pastoral and congregational effectiveness for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."
Here's how the IGC describes the work of the Chief Ministry Officer:
So why did I apply for this position? Because I'm passionate about education, training, and development of leaders. (That, plus a passion for international missions, is the reason I took a sabbatical.) Throughout my years as a pastor, some of my most joy-filled moments have come when I was teaching. I have longed desired to be in a ministry beyond the local church where I could focus on education and training.
In Frederick Buechner’s oft-quoted words, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” My passion for education, coupled with the IGC’s need for a CMO, feels very much like a call.
The bonus is that Lorie and I get to continue living at Lake Junaluska. We've really enjoyed being back in the mountains, being part of the Junaluska community, and being near our son and daughter-in-law, our daughter, and our grandsons. It's a little frustrating being 3 hours from our family members in the Triad area, but what we've found is that without the pressure of me having to preach every Sunday, it's a lot easier to make that trip and spend that time with our family in the Piedmont.
The IGC's offices are located in the historic Atkins House overlooking Lake Junaluska. It's a beautiful place to come to work in the morning! Check out my parking place ...
Now--Does this mean I won't be taking an appointment to a local church? Yes. This is my appointment, at least for the 2019-2020 conference year. I am extremely grateful to the IGC for bringing me on board, and to Bishop Leeland and the Western NC Conference cabinet for appointing me to this extension ministry.