On November 18-19, 2015, Education and Clergy Development hosted its annual New Pastor Orientation at Wesleyan Headquarters in Fishers, IN. The conference reached out to pastors newly ordained or serving in their first appointment in The Wesleyan Church. This year, 23 pastors and their spouses attended.

The purpose of the gathering was to welcome these new leaders into The Wesleyan Church, provide connection with the larger church body and resource their congregational ministries. Executive Director Russ Gunsalus and Director Dave Higle of Education and Clergy Development hosted the event, welcoming guest speakers who addressed issues important to incoming pastors.

Clergy care has been a theme of particular focus in recent years, shares Director Higle. “It takes a healthy pastor to create a healthy church. We want to encourage self-care, to develop healthy, fit and effective pastors.” During the first day of the conference, guest speakers Dr. Lenny and Amy Luchetti from Wesley Seminary shared about “The Healthy Pastoral Family.” Self-care involves balance, including presence with family in the midst of ministry’s demands.

Day Two began with Keith Drury’s presentation “The History and Relevance of the Wesleyan Church,” designed to acclimate new pastors to Wesleyan tradition and mission. The presentation was followed by chances to connect with denominational leaders like Jim Dunn and the Church Multiplication & Discipleship team, ranging from youth ministry visionaries to church planting leaders.

The orientation succeeded in providing an orientation to Wesleyan ministry, connecting pastors to resources and key people and providing the ethos of the denomination.

“The key takeaway for us,” reflects Dave, “is the value of hosting this event every year for new pastors. We receive lots of positive feedback from pastors who tell us they come away feeling welcomed and resourced.”

In the future, ECD hopes more pastors from every district will consider attending the orientation. “The orientation enlarges pastors’ sense of connection,” shares Dave. “Knowing they’re part of a larger body striving for a common goal helps these pastors accomplish their mission of transforming lives, churches and communities.”

Each year, ECD sends out invitations to its annually updated database of Wesleyan pastors. If you’re new to The Wesleyan Church, consider attending this year’s orientation. It promises to provide valuable resources and connections that will equip and inspire you in your local ministry.

Gabriela Garver is a staff writer for Education and Clergy Development. Recently returned from a year studying in Istanbul, Turkey, Gabriela is finishing her undergrad degree in International Relations at Indiana Wesleyan University. After graduation, she hopes to work with refugee resettlement. When she’s not writing, Gabriela enjoys walks, talks, and road trips.