The Virginia Conference Center for Clergy Excellence
In 2008, the Virginia Annual Conference determined that “resourcing of leadership must become the primary focus of the conference as new and existing faith communities are empowered to witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” As of Jan. 1, 2012, the Virginia Conference continued aligning all ministry areas with this focus on leadership development by creating “ministry centers for excellence.” The Center for Clergy Excellence focuses primarily on clergy leadership which includes developing, supporting and training clergy leaders in light of the core values of excellence and fruitfulness. This center will collaborate with the other ministry centers as new initiatives are developed to assist clergy, laity and the churches of the Virginia Conference to makes disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Currently, the areas of focus for the Center for Clergy Excellence are as follows:
The Board of Ordained Ministry
• Nurtures a culture of call to ministry in the conference
• Assists candidates with discernment of call through group mentoring and the practice of VocationCARE
• Authorizes persons as certified candidates and licensed local pastors through the work of district committees on ordained ministry
• Interviews and recommends candidates for provisional membership
• Interviews and recommends candidates for full membership and ordination
• Oversees the following areas:
o Review of credentials for ministers of other denominations and transfers
o Extension Ministers
o Ministry Preparation and Licensing School
o The Provisional Process
o Professional and Para-professional Certification
o Continuing Education and Clergy Development
o Conference status changes, include leaves of absence, incapacity leave and retirement
o The Orders of Deacon and Elder and the Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members
o Clergy ethics, including training in basic sexual ethics, clergy reporting child abuse and neglect, ethics II with focus on self care, boundaries and the challenges of the digital world
o Financial aid for seminary students.
The Large Church Lead Pastor Initiative
• Provides Just-in-Time training, an annual gathering, and other resources for lead pastors of large membership churches with an average worship attendance above 350.
The Mid-Size Church Leadership Team
• Provides Just-in-Time training, an annual gathering, and other resources for lead pastors of mid-size churches with an average worship attendance between 150 and 349.
The Small Membership Church Leadership Team
• Working with the Center for Congregational Excellence, provides training, support and resources for clergy and laity in churches with an average worship attendance under 150.
The Cross Cultural/Cross Racial Resource Team
• Working with the Center for Lay Leadership Excellence, provides training and resources for clergy, laity and congregations with cross cultural/cross racial appointments.
• An annual gathering and continuing education event for all clergy in the Virginia Conference, held annually in January.
Clergy Family Enrichment
• Provides support and resources for clergy families, including a “Thrival Kit” resource, an annual spouses’ retreat, a “Welcome Meal” for new clergy and their spouses at Annual Conference and a spouses’ luncheon at Annual Conference.
Associate Pastors Resources
• Provides resources, sample job descriptions and support for the Cabinet process of selection and appointment of associate pastors.
Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committees
• Works with district superintendents to develop resources and train S/PPRC members.