West Ohio Conference has launched an innovative new approach to resourcing the local church through Regional Missional Specialists. This approach embodies the heart of what it means to be connectional and will help us to achieve the mission of equipping local churches even more effectively across the West Ohio Conference.
Rev. Suzanne Allen, Rev. Karen Cook, Rev. Wendy Lybarger, and Rev. Sara Thomas, who formerly provided leadership as Assistants to the District Superintendents now serve the annual conference in the role of Regional Missional Specialists.
The new designation and partnership at the conference level will empower this team to continue to develop relationships with pastors and local church leadership in specific geographical regions alongside of District Superintendents. It will also provide a new opportunity for them to work across district lines to build relationships and to share resources and best practices to help every local church thrive as a mission station that reaches people for Jesus Christ and the transformation of the world.
What does the title, Regional Missional Specialist mean?
Regional— Each specialist will work within and get to know and understand the strengths, needs, and culture of two district areas in depth while supporting the work occurring in several other districts. The farmlands of Northwest Ohio are different than the hills of Southern Ohio. The urban areas of Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Toledo have their own unique history and traditions.
Missional—The primary task of this team is to inspire and resource the local church to live out the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. They will help local churches access and implement the excellent missional resources that are available at the District, Annual Conference, and General Church levels.
Specialist—Each of these pastors brings specialized gifts and training to the role: coaching, leadership development, discipleship, renewal, conflict resolution, visioning for new ministries, administration, and urban ministry, just to name a few. They will be available to share their area of specialization with churches across the conference rather than being limited to one district area.
Each RMS has primary responsibility to two districts and secondary responsibility to two additional districts.
The RMS may be reached by email: sarathomas [at] wocumc.org; sallen [at] wocumc.org; kcook [at] wocumc.org and wlybarger [at] wocumc.org or by calling (614) 844-6200 or toll free: (800) 437-0028.