Transparency in the United Methodist Church is needed from the laity all the way up to the Bishop, but some churches are finding their organizational health threatened by distrust across the board. Bishop Holston described the importance of developing a team of clergy and laity in the church to work in tandem with one another when reaching out to the community.
A functional definition of effective adaptive leadership in a multicultural world involves establishing meaningful relationships, developing one’s self to be able to develop others, and being willing to do the necessary work. It is built upon trust and authenticity. In order to stay purposeful, it is important to identify both what you have to do, and why you have to do it. In this way, processes start with their end goals in mind.
Bishop Holston and Kathy James, the Connectional Ministries Chairperson for the South Carolina Conference, introduced Forward Focus, a program developed in the South Carolina Conference based upon ¶213 of the Book of Discipline. It asks, “Who are we? Who are our neighbors? What are we going to do about it?” and explores how the church’s leadership and laity work in partnership with the community.
In conclusion, Bishop Holston referenced the three main points in Henry Cloud’s book, Necessary Endings: Everything has a season, things need to be pruned, and there must be an understanding of the difference between wishing and hoping. Open and honest dialogue between the clergy, laity, and community is critical as a church moves forward towards its purpose.