Mid-June is often a time of transition for North Alabama United Methodist Congregations. It is the time pastors move to their new appointments and congregations get to know their new leadership.
This year that transition is happening at a larger level as the Conference begins living into its new eight district structure.
In an effort to make these transitions more successful, earlier this week, training sessions were offered to both the Cabinet and to pastors who have moved to a new appointment. These trainings were based on the book The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, by Michael Watkins.
In the book's introduction, Watkins notes that the leader's goal is "to arrive rapidly as possible at the breakeven point, where you are a net contributor of value to your organization." In the text he focuses on how this goal can be met by learning about both themselves and their new organization; developing strategies that will fit the new situation and people they are now working with; securing early wins; building a team and keep their balance as a leader.
On Monday the eight District Superintendents and other members of the Extended Cabinet gathered for an all-day session to begin an action plan for the new role of the District Superintendents in the new district structure. On Tuesday two sessions were offered to those clergy who have moved to new congregations. The morning session was held in Birmingham and an evening session was held in Decatur. During these times, clergy were encouraged to focus on quickly getting to know both themselves and their leadership styles and tendencies as they get to know their new congregation. They also began to develop an action plan for moving their congregations to growing more disciples of Jesus Christ.
Offering trainings such as these that can directly help local churches and their leaders are one goal for the Conference in its new district structure. Thus, by starting the new 2006-07 Conference year with such a successful turnout for a training would be considered "an early win" in the transition to the to new districts and the Annual Conference's role in challenging and equipping local churches.