Editor's Note: As the 2012 General Conference approaches, United Methodist News Service is looking at details of legislation and offering information to help readers better understand how the church works. A number of proposals are aimed at restructuring the denomination and its general ministries, so UMNS asked the top executives of each agency to answer five questions about their agency's role in the church. This is the response from the Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
Directed by the Council of Bishops' Leadership Table, which endorsed the plan in 2011, a young adult team began in May 2011 to build the initiative as one way to develop principled Christian leaders, one of the denomination's Four Areas of Focus adopted by the 2008 General Conference. The project is a collaborative effort among general church agencies, young adult leaders from The United Methodist Church and its annual conferences, and profit and nonprofit advisers. The Rev. DJ del Rosario, director for young adult ministry discernment and enlistment at the Board of Higher Education and Ministry, is the executive director of the project. The Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the Board of Church and Society, the Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Communications and the Board of Discipleship are all involved in this project.
The Rev. Emily Oliver, associate director of the Center for Clergy Excellence, Florida Annual (regional) Conference, brought a group of 35 college students and seminarians to Exploration.
Blogging, tweeting and QR codes added new levels of connection to this event for young adults considering God's call to ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church, allowing instant connections and real-time discussions about sermons, workshops and small groups.
She said Twitter allowed her to stay connected to her group throughout the event.
"I was sitting in the room listening to Adam Hamilton surrounded by only a few, but watching online my entire group of 35 based on their Twitter feeds. I could tell what they were thinking, what was resonating with them, I was tweeting back. We were almost having our own small group in the middle of worship," Oliver said. "Just to be in the middle of that, to be able to hear who had a challenge or a pushback at the time, that makes me feel more connected."
4. How does the average United Methodist pastor or member benefit from your agency's work?
Every member of every United Methodist church benefits from having pastors who have been encouraged, supported and trained through programs our agency is involved in (see response to first question). Our scholarships have helped thousands of United Methodist students and our leadership programs (see response to third question) have helped those considering how God is calling them to be in ministry to find their role in the church and the world.
5. How much money and how many employees does it take to maintain the work your agency is currently doing?
We have approximately 60 employees and our budget for 2012 is about $39 million.
Learn more: Website of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry
For more information, visit the 2012 General Conference website.