On Tuesday evening, June 7, at General Conference, Dr. Jo Anne Lyon read a citation of appreciation for the extraordinary service of Dr. Jim Dunn for 12 years of service as a general officer helping local church ministries thrive.
The citation in full follows:
Rev. Dr. James Dunn was elected into the office of General Director of Spiritual Formation in June 2004 at the General Conference of The Wesleyan Church.
Dunn came to this post of denominational service with 15 years of service as the lead pastor of a local church. The Spiritual Formation department of The Wesleyan Church was a newly created area of ministry for the General Church, and Dunn gave leadership in creating new pathways of efficiency and fresh vision for those areas of service to the Church. When another merger of departments was planned for 2012, Dunn was again tabbed to lead a transition, bringing a variety of mission critical ministries under the same roof, as the Executive Director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship. He provided a unity of direction and purpose to multiply Spirit-led disciples, ministries, and churches for The Wesleyan Church and beyond through this division, which required of Dunn a full engagement in high-level administrative leadership, broad vision, and service to the local church.
Church Multiplication and Discipleship, under Dunn’s leadership, would become a hub of local church empowerment in the Church. Few could have navigated the complexity and pressure of such General Church ministries at once, but Dunn is responsive and competent in ways few can match. He provided a pioneering focus on multi-ethnic leadership and community development, while also leading tours of church planting and revitalization so leaders could learn peer-to-peer, opening the door for all kinds of creative outreach. In all this he faithfully led the church for more than a decade to prepare it well for the future in myriad ways.
The posture of Dunn’s leadership, and those under his supervision, always flowed from and back to a local church service mindset. By empowering leadership under him, Dunn was able to see his division launch into new frontiers of ministry the Wesleyan General Church leadership had never intentionally engaged in. This happened while leading a re-thinking and re-launching of long-loved ministries in the church to breathe new life into their purpose and style.
Dunn was able to not only lead transition in his own areas of responsibility, but also to provide stability and continuity in an era of great change for The Wesleyan Church. As the only Executive Director pre-dating the restructure of 2012, Dunn was able to bring context to decision-making and help give a historical perspective in major initiatives.
On behalf of his colleagues in the Executive Cabinet, team members throughout Wesleyan Headquarters, the General Board, and this entire General Conference of The Wesleyan Church, we express our gratitude for the crucial leadership Rev. Dr. James Dunn provided to the Church he loves and has served, when needed, in whatever capacity needed at the time. You, Jim, are a true servant of Christ and we admire not only what you have done, but also who you are in the midst of such service.