A new staffing ministry model aligned with current and developing local church needs was introduced to the North Carolina Conference Connectional Ministries staff on Wednesday, Jan. 6. Five current staff positions are being eliminated, effective Jan. 22, and four new ministry areas were introduced to more directly work with local congregations in making disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Carol Goehring, executive director of Conference Connectional Ministries, said the new ministry model is similar to the Conference Connectional Table (CCT) structure adopted in 2008 and is “locally focused with a high potential for transformational leadership development within local churches and communities.”
“Change is difficult, especially when it involves persons you love and respect. The directors that are leaving have been wonderful servants of the church and the conference. We wish them well as they enter other areas of service,” Goehring said.
Other conferences have experienced the elimination of staff positions. “The change for the NC Conference is driven by the need and desire to be strong advocates and supporters of local churches and their ministries and is not driven by current funding resources,” said Rev. Goehring.
Staff positions eliminated were ministry directors for Hispanic/Latino; Christian Education, Archives and History, and Older Adult Ministries; Missions and Justice Ministries; Children, Youth and Young Adult; and Multicultural. The director of Multicultural Ministries, who is under Episcopal appointment, will continue as a transition leader until Annual Conference in June when he plans to retire.
Severance packages were offered to staff who are immediately displaced.
The new ministry model has team coordinators for Leadership, Christian Formation, Outreach, and Stewardship. The coordinators will form a core team as Connectional Ministries staff for collaborative ministries for response to the needs of local churches.
According to a document explaining the change, the new ministry team coordinators will be expert facilitators, and coaches and mentors with some knowledge of the ministry areas, rather than being subject matter experts.
The current Communications area will become the fifth team for internal and external information sharing and web and video ministries. Under the current CCT structure, Communications is a part of each team, sharing information about the teams across the conference and providing other resources as needed. This team continues with its present staffing.
The executive director of Connectional Ministries will provide overall leadership for the teams and will serve as team coordinator for the Leadership Ministry Team.
Bishop Al Gwinn said the church has long known that its disciple making ministry must not change but how ministry is practiced must always be changing to address current realities.
“So it seems so appropriate that the Connectional Ministries Team would seek to find more effective ways to resource our local congregations as they address current realities,” he said.
Pointing out that the Council of Bishops and General Church’s Connectional Table have called on the Church to concentrate on “disciple-making by focusing upon leadership, revitalization, new faith communities, global health and ministry with the poor,” Bishop Gwinn said “our Connectional Ministries Table has structured itself into four teams- Leadership, Outreach, Spiritual Formation, and Stewardship” to help local churches be strong disciple-making centers.”
“The action to staff according to this Connectional Table alignment will, in my opinion, assist the Table greatly as it seeks to assist our local congregations in becoming more vital and healthy in their ministries of radical hospitality, Spirit-filled worship, Spiritual formation, risk-taking ministries and mission to the world and extravagant generosity,” Bishop Gwinn said.
“Often change is made even more difficult when it affects the lives of others. So this is a time when much prayer is needed – for those who must lead in the change, for those who are significantly affected by the change and all who are seeking to understand the change,” he said.
Prior to the announcement, consultations were held with the Cabinet, executive committee of the CCT, and the Conference Personnel Committee. Administrative assistants continue in the new structure and will be assigned to work with a team coordinator.
For more information on these changes, see the following documents:
- “Responding to Shifting World Realities: A New Ministry Model for the North Carolina Conference Connectional Ministries” (PDF)
- Bishop Gwinn’s statements (PDF)
- Job description links: Christian Formation Team Coordinator, Stewardship Ministry Team Coordinator, Outreach Team Coordinator, Media Center Associate