The Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church has an active chapter of The Academy of Preachers, which meets periodically throughout the year via online meetings to foster conversations around serving in ministry. As the group has formed, there have been challenges and learning curves in the realm of software and technological issues, however, being an online organization has also provided the group great opportunities to connect with one another, as well as other leaders throughout the connection. Most recently, the Academy hosted an online session with Pastor Adam Hamilton of the Church of the Resurrection, which would not have been possible without the use of technology and online meeting spaces.
During the session, Hamilton addressed topics such as: types of sermons, expectations of pastors, ways to keep congregations engaged during sermons and much more. Pulling on the diversity of his experience as pastor in The United Methodist Church, he was also able to address questions from the group that were submitted via online chat and fielded by a moderator. Questions varied from how long should a sermon be planned out to how can clergy deal with doubt from earlier appointments because of being young, being a female, or both and more. As the conversation closed, the main points that stood out were preaching with conviction and confidence, as well as leading in the same manner are key to be fruitful in ministry. Without a doubt, there is a practical side of being a pastor, however, the emotional side is equally important. Details and planning are critical, but spending time with God and continuing to renew the passion and fire that you feel now will fuel your ministry for years to come.