As announced earlier this week, Rev. Todd Harris is being appointed as the new District Superintendent of the Northwest District effective July 1, 2019. Until late June, Pastor Todd and his family will continue to be part of FUMC Allen. Todd will be preaching regularly and doing all the things he does normally. He will on occasion attend cabinet meetings to learn about his new job, but his primary responsibility remains serving as our Senior Pastor for the next five months.
Since the announcement, questions have swirled about the next lead pastor and how will we get a new one. Unlike the corporate world, the opening of senior pastor is not posted on a job board, and resumes are not submitted to the North Texas conference. A selection will come out of the ongoing close work between the Bishop, District Superintendents, and Conference Pastors. They make their choice based on the gifts, graces, skills, leadership ability, and spiritual maturity that matches the needs of FUMC and our mission field.
A Connectional Process
Ever since the inception of the United Methodist Church and other forms of the Methodist denomination, UMC pastors are appointed and deployed by the Bishop and District Superintendents to serve local churches. In other words, pastors work for the conference but paid by the local church.
It’s important to know that while other denominations are independent, the UMC is connectional. According to connectionalism, the church is defined not by formal structures or doctrine or lines of authority. It’s defined by connections between people: connections between pastor and pastor, between pastor and laity, and between laity and laity. The United Methodist Church defines connection as the principle that “all leaders and congregations are connected in a network of loyalties and commitments that support, yet supersede, local concerns.”
Read more about the connectional United Methodist Church HERE
One of the primary ways this connection gets lived out is through the appointment of pastors to local churches. This process, which has been working for several hundred years, may seem foreign to many, but it ensures that as one pastor leaves. a new and very capable pastor begins and the ministry of the church continues without being on hold.
What Happens Next?
Upon learning the news of Pastor Todd’s new appointment from Bishop Michael McKee, the FUMC Allen Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) scheduled a time to meet with our District Superintendent Dr. Ronald Henderson. At this meeting, they discussed the vision, hopes, and dreams of our congregation and provided the profile describing who we believe our next pastor should be.
Dr. Henderson is very familiar with FUMC Allen and the type of pastoral leadership that will best benefit our church. He will use the SPRC’s profile to discern the best choice for us. He and Bishop McKee, along with the other District Superintendents, are extremely familiar with the clergy throughout our conference and will work prayerfully and faithfully to identify and then appoint the ideal person to lead us into the new future God has in store for us.
In the near future, Dr. Henderson will introduce to the SPRC the ideal person to be our new pastor.
As soon as the committee knows who that person is, they will make an announcement to the congregation. The new pastor will begin on July 1, 2019.