Two pastors were selected from the Louisiana Annual Conference to receive sponsorships to participate in an advanced, five-year leadership training course for young clergy. The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana will sponsor these pastors in the Advancing Pastoral Leadership program at a cost of $2000 per year plus travel expenses.
The recipients are Rev. Rachel McConnell-Switzer of Summer Grove UMC, Shreveport; and Rev. Bradley Swire of Lake Arthur UMC.
Advancing Pastoral Leadership is a ministry of the Texas Annual Conference open to clergy who have 30 years of potential remaining service to the church and designed to develop their capacity for leadership. Session topics will cover issues such as discernment of leadership gifts and creation of development goals; current realities of the UMC, engaging staff and congregation in strategic planning; implementing change and managing resistance; preaching content and style; budgets and basic church accounting, money sermons and personal financial planning; and setting a personalized growth and development plan.
Applicants were required to have exhibited gifts in leading their church in professions of faith, worship attendance, membership, missional outreach ministries, and financial giving. Additionally, each applicant’s qualifications were affirmed by lay leaders of the church they serve.
The Foundation has been sponsoring young Louisiana pastors in this program since 2011. Other participants include graduates Rev. Stephen Fife, Rev. Juan Huertas, Rev. Katie McKay-Simpson, Rev. Leslie Stephens; and current participants Rev. Colleen Bookter, Rev. Ben McGehee, Rev. Ashley McGuire, Rev. Brian Mercer, Rev. Josh Milliron, Rev. Karli Pidgeon, Rev. Drew Sutton, Rev. Marissa Teauseau, Rev. Lane Cotton Winn, and Rev. Max Zehner.