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Congregational specialist changes designed to help churches statewide

By Jessica Connor

With the shift of the Rev. Kathy Lewis James from congregational specialist to new director of Connectional Ministries for the S.C. Conference, the rest of the department is seeing several changes in staff makeup that they hope will help the connection across the state.

Two new congregational specialists are joining the seven-member team this year; James promotion meant her position was open, plus the Rev. Judson King “ who served as Charleston/Walterboro district congregational specialist with a youth ministry emphasis “ was appointed to pastor a local church July 1.

Chris Lynch was named the youth ministry specialist for the conference, also serving the Spartanburg and Rock Hill districts (see below).

Connectional Ministries is expected to name other specialist, serving the Charleston/Walterboro district, shortly.

Also, congregational specialists who work in ethnic ministry will refocus their efforts in one geographic area for the purpose of developing models and principles. To that end, the Revs. Sonia Brum and Ken Nelson will see changes in their positions.

Brum, who served as Columbia/Hartsville district congregational specialist with a Hispanic ministry emphasis, has now been assigned the Columbia District and the West Metro Hispanic Ministry.  While serving West Metro, she will also be developing principles for statewide Hispanic ministry from that setting.

Nelson, who served as specialist for African-American ministry, will assume congregational specialist responsibilities for Hartsville District while continuing with primary responsibility for African-American ministry with the Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century project. He will also be cultivating African-American ministry principles and models in Hartsville that can be applied in other districts.

Chatting with Chris Lynch

Editor s note: ˆThe Advocate had the chance to sit down with Chris Lynch, new congregational specialist for the Rock Hill  and Spartanburg Districts, as well as Ministries with Young People.

Advocate: What will you do in this role?

Lynch: I will be working as a resource person or consultant for the local congregations in those two districts as they seek to minister within their communities to maximize their impact for the Kingdom. In addition, I am serving as the resource person for Ministries with Young People for the conference, which means I will be available to assist local congregations with youth ministry specific issues in their settings, as well as working with various conference offerings for young persons.

Advocate: What are you hoping to accomplish for churches?

Lynch: My hope is to help churches uncover their specific ministry DNA in order to discover ways that each local church can fulfill its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. I believe that every local congregation regardless of location, size or demographics has the gifts and tools needed to further the Kingdom in their community. My hope is to help them uncover fresh and creative ways to accomplish their mission.

Advocate: What do you hope to do for the conference as a whole?

Lynch: My hope on the conference level is to do my part on the Connectional Ministries team to strengthen The United Methodist Church in South Carolina as we develop meaningful ministries that meet the needs of the local congregations. In terms of ministries with young people, I hope to work to strengthen the current ministry offering by creating synergy as we work together for a common goal.

Advocate: Why do you want to do this ministry?

Lynch: Simply stated, I long to see Jesus Christ honored and praised and, as we say in the Lord s Prayer, His kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  I think that God has called his people to action. Research shows that Christianity is a fading force in our culture today, particularly in the U.S. I believe that the local church and particularly the individual ministry of her laity will be the foundation of a movement to shift the tide. A passionate relationship with Jesus Christ is where we as a church and individuals must start.

To connect with Lynch, email clynch@umcsc.org.

“ Compiled by Valarie Flowers

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