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16th Conference Table

Excellence for Ministry:
A Focus on the Agenda for the Center for Clergy Excellence:

The 16th Conference Table was held Nov. 28 at St. James United Methodist Church in Tampa, with 105 people in attendance and 312 joining in by webcast.

This session focused on the creation of a system that will enable clergy to be resourced and supported throughout their ministry. The chair of this session was the Rev. David Dodge, executive director of the Florida Conference Center for Clergy Excellence. 

Complete details about the day’s discussions will be posted here soon. 


As we begin to identify what distinguishes a person as being “excellent” in ministry, there are certain baseline assumptions that apply to all who are licensed or ordained. These baseline assumptions represent the starting point from which one then moves to a deeper and more complete understanding of one’s ministry. The developed understanding results in a ministry that rises above the norm.

These baseline assumptions include the following:

  1. The primary mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Each clergy person must have this as his/her primary objective, and should be faithfully living into that expression of ministry.
  2. Each clergy person must have a certain set of skills. This skill set will vary from individual to individual, and from order to order. These skills include
  • A clear ability to proclaim the Word
  • A foundational understanding of Wesleyan theology and the ability
    to communicate that understanding within the individual’s particular ministry setting
  • The ability to discern God’s direction for one’s ministry and to lead
    people in following God’s leading.

With these understandings of what is fundamental we can then look to what defines excellence.


  • Faithfulness to call

  • Willingness to put faithfulness to call over personal comfort/advancement/desires

  • Constantly being called and pushed beyond the setting of ministry – going to the uncomfortable settings

  • Seeks mentors for self and mentors others in ministry

  • Aware of one’s own characteristics, needs and issues

  • Takes initiative to address identified personal and/or vocational needs

  • Practices a vibrant, living expression of the spiritual disciplines resulting in a heart of resiliency

  • Finds ways of being engaged in the community beyond the local church, bridging the community and the church by representing Christ in the community, engaging the community and reframing the story of the church in the context of the community

  • Possesses an inner sense of accountability

  • Gives evidence of living a balanced, healthy life

  • Gives evidence of trust and personal authority

  • Is a producer of the culture of the church

Suggested Readings

God’s Potters: Pastoral Leadership and the Shaping of Congregations by Jackson W. Carroll. Published by Eerdmans, 2006

Resurrecting Excellence: Shaping Faithful Christian Ministry by L. Gregory Jones and Kevin R. Armstrong. Published by Eerdmans, 2006.