My metaphor for what a current Bishop needs to be is an animator. Animators bring something to life through a story, thought, teaching, action, decision making, etc. The root word for animation is anima, to breath, like the acting of God breathing into humanity. If I were making a movie with God my question would be, “Do I need to be an animator who is trying to create my own complete production, or is my work to contribute one “cel” to God’s animated creation?” My sense is that I would work to contribute one frame to God’s greater creation. But that one “cel” would be important to the whole of what is being created. As a bishop I will be given the opportunity to provide leadership to challenge local churches to create their “cel” ministry contribution through which God’s creative work may be revealed. Together we will all need to put on God’s eyes to be in touch with what God is up to.
As a bishop in the church I believe I can help the church maintain the best of the past church while inviting the church to join a world that has already changed. I can do this while helping the position evolve from being just an institutional manager, to one of a catalytic adaptive leader. I know I am good at building effective ministry and management teams.
As a bishop my leadership goal will be to inspire clergy and laity to use their own capacity for imagination and innovation to help create new ways of being and doing church. Also, as a bishop, I believe I can perform a primary task that will help enhance the future work of the church, the ability to help create space within church polity and procedure to allow for entrepreneurial endeavors and fresh expressions of the ministry of local churches. And because I have already done this at the conference level I know I can lead the work of aligning resources for denominational mission accomplishment. I also will back efforts to accomplish God’s vision for inclusions of more diverse people in the church.
In the book Weird Church, Paul Nixon and Beth Estock write that for the church to live we need to practice Christian subversion. We must help the church wake up and open up to the movement of the spirit. They write about how a person can help make this happen. “One of the most effective subversive questions to ask ourselves is ‘What are my gifts and passions and how can I use them fully as a co-creator with God?’ Howard Thurman said well, ‘Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, Ask yourself what make you come alive.” This means no clear boundaries between work and life. The focus becomes using our gifts as a witness to the sacrament of life day in and day out no matter what you do.” From the time I was young I have felt a call to and passionate about keeping the work of the church alive and growing. If it is discerned that my energy and skills can assist accomplishing this as an episcopal leader, great, and if not, I will continue to passionately serve my Lord, family and whatever ministry I am appointed to with passion and commitment.
It is humbling to be considered for this role. Thank you for believing that I could serve in this way.