The Education and Clergy Department of The Wesleyan Church rolled out the red carpet for 25 newly ordained, first appointed pastors and chaplains and pastors who have just transferred from another denomination. In a 24-hour period on October 9 and 10, pastors were greeted at New Pastors’ Orientation (NPO) by staff from various departments from headquarters and given updated information on the resources and services that are available through The Wesleyan Church (TWC). We were well-cared for and given several books and other publications. But, more importantly, we saw face-to-face the folks who pour their hearts and lives into serving The Wesleyan Church and its pastors through our denominational headquarters.
Each of the folks I had the privilege of meeting — some of whom work on the frontlines and others working in support roles — serve the church because of their love for Christ and because they want to see more people come to Christ. As I listened to each of the presentations, it was apparent that there are many untapped resources available for pastors in all types of situations and ministries. An underlying theme was apparent: You are not alone. These resources are a phone call, email or mouse-click away.
Our call to becoming a pastor was celebrated. Our hearts were encouraged. We were reminded of how important it is for us to maintain our spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, marital and mental health for us to be more effective as ministers of the gospel. What transpired at NPO helped us become familiar with the types of resources our denomination provides to help position us for maximum effectiveness in ministry.
Dave Higle, director of Clergy Care & Development, and ECD staff highlighted the initiatives in their department.
- The Clergy Helpline (800-53PASTOR) is a confidential resource available to pastors, spouses and children of pastors. While accessible during crises, it is also convenient to help each of us invest in our emotional health so we can be more effective in ministry.
- Two coaching opportunities are available for pastors: the Wesleyan Coaching Network 2.0 and PastorServe Coaching help pastors thrive personally and professionally. Wesleyan pastors are eligible for a matching grant from the Full Strength network.
- ECD has partnered with Lawrence Wilson to provide retreat locations throughout the United States that are available to pastors and their families for free or low-cost to help Wesleyan pastors make vacation/retreat accessible.
- The Thrive Financial Initiative (TFI) is a program designed to help pastors overcome economic challenges. The average benefit per year for individual pastors is $5,006.
“NPO provides an opportunity for newly ordained, newly appointed (i.e. a pastor’s first official appointment) and/or pastors transferring in from other denominations to become aware of the ministries, resources and networking opportunities in TWC (how we can all partner together),” said Higle. “But another strong emphasis is to help them experience a deep sense of the ethos of TWC, that we are a discipleship and church multiplication movement, and that we care for our pastors and their families.”
Janelle Vernon, executive director of Communication and Administration, and her team provide denominational news and information. They would love to hear from you what stories of life change, community impact and kingdom building are happening in your church! The team also prepares official views and mission-aligned resources, essential legal, creative, editorial and other administrative support. If you have a question or concern, they are just a phone call or email away. They also maintain our denominational archives.
Anita Eastlack, executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship, and her team presented a host of resources to assist pastors and churches with discipleship, multi-ethnic ministry and multiplication. Los Recursos están disponibles en español. (Resources are available in Spanish). The CMAD team curates sermons, curriculum and other resources from throughout Wesleyan churches. Nextgen resources are available for ministry to children and youth. To learn about the upcoming international Wesleyan youth convention in Cincinnati, December 28-31, click here: Follow 2019 Conference.
Dennis Jackson, executive director of Global Partners, reminded us of the impact The Wesleyan Church is having around the world. His team shared about the opportunities to partner with missionaries, explore becoming a missionary and receive missional coaching for your church.
We ended our first day with a reminder about the importance of emotional intelligence in ministry. Jeannie Miller-Clarkson shared from her hot-off-the-press book, The Emotionally Intelligent Pastor — A Guide for Clergy and Other Church Leaders (available through Wesleyan Publishing House here). Miller-Clarkson encouraged us to commit to being lifelong learners and to be bold — by allowing God’s Holy Spirit to flow out of who he created each one of us to be. She ended the evening by reminding us to keep at it (Galatians 6:9).
David Drury, TWC chief of staff, shared about the incredible opportunities our denomination embraces through establishing Immigrant Connection centers. These centers provide low-cost legal services to individuals navigating the immigration system.
Kevin Batman, general treasurer and CFO, encouraged us to get the newest edition of Zondervan Minister’s Tax and Financial Guide for this next tax year. He also shared about low-cost payroll options provided by StewardshipPayroll.com or Ministryworks.com. If you have questions about housing allowances or other clergy tax issues, he would be happy to assist you. Additional resources for churches and clergy are available here.
Debra Levite, director of Wesleyan Pension Fund Benefits, shared about the Wesleyan Pension Fund. Isaac Hess, senior account manager of Wesleyan Investment Foundation (WIF), told about how the organization has helped churches build, renovate, and improve their facilities through WIF investments, and in 70 years has never had to foreclose on a loan! WIF also offers excellent interest rates on savings accounts and IRAs.
What a privilege it was to hear Bob Black, professor emeritus of religion, Southern Wesleyan University, give a brief “History of The Wesleyan Church.” Black’s presentation not only informed us of our past but also encouraged us in the future that is unfolding for Wesleyan movement.
Jon Wiest, multiplication pastor at Trinity Church in Fishers, Indiana, shared about his journey as a pastor and challenged us to think about how The Wesleyan Church started as a movement. Could the mobilization of disciple-making leaders launch a new movement within our denomination that would bring revival?
Abby Krause, a pastor at Sent Church in Plano, Texas, was encouraged through attending NPO.
“As a newly ordained pastor, I am so glad I attended the New Pastor Orientation at Headquarters this past week,” said Krause. “We were treated like royalty — I felt so special. I was blown away by all of the resources available to us as pastors. Not only is there a tremendous support system available to us, but to our families as well. I realized that I am not alone and that the denomination cares deeply about my emotional, physical and spiritual health as a pastor. I highly recommend that all new pastors attend this orientation — I felt loved and supported in my calling!”
What an incredible time to be a part of The Wesleyan Church. As pastors and lay leaders, our denominational headquarters wants to provide resources that will enable us to mobilize disciples who make disciples, that result in churches multiplying until there is a transforming presence in every ZIP code.
You are not alone. We are not alone. Help is just a prayer, phone call, email or mouse-click away. Let’s link arms together as pastors and as a denomination to reach the world for Christ.
Belinda Selfridge is a recently ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church. She serves as executive assistant to the district superintendent in the Tri-State District and as local outreach pastor at First Wesleyan Church in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.