Our Indiana Conference delegation elected to serve at the 2016 General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference has been working to discern the qualities they believe are needed in anyone whom they would help elect as a new bishop (and who potentially might be assigned to serve the Indiana Conference). Rev. Frank Beard who was elected Chair of our Indiana Conference delegation, has shared that list with me, and I am so impressed by it that I am sharing it here (with the understanding that the list may evolve as they continue their work as a delegation):

Desired Attributes for Episcopal Candidates

  1. Spiritual Leader: demonstrates a genuine faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and is able to lead others in their faith journey.
  2. Missional Leader: is committed to the mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world and has demonstrated the ability to accomplish the mission through increased worship attendance, professions of faith, small groups, outreach, and the ability to raise up leaders who are making disciples.
  3. Transformational Leader: has a vision for how the church will accomplish the mission, and has the ability to clearly communicate the mission and vision.
  4. Administrative Leader: Upholds the doctrine and polity of the United Methodist Church as stated in The Book of Discipline.
  5. Leader of and beyond the local church: has demonstrated leadership as the lead pastor of a local church, in the conference, and beyond the conference in the jurisdictional and/or general church.
  6. Gracious Leader: has the ability to overcome adversity and to stay focused on the mission while not taking offense to personal attacks, maintaining a commitment to truth, holding leaders accountable, and treating people with grace.
  7. Leader in the Wesleyan Tradition: has a life and ministry that is rooted in Wesleyan theology, spirituality, and practice.
  8. Demonstrates the attributes found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (CEB):
    “This saying is reliable: if anyone has a goal to be a supervisor in the church, they want a good thing. So the church’s supervisor must be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, sober, modest, and honest. They should show hospitality and be skilled at teaching. They shouldn’t be addicted to alcohol or be a bully. Instead, they should be gentle, peaceable, and not greedy. They should manage their own household well – they should see that their children are obedient with complete respect, because if they don’t know how to manage their own household, how can they take care of God’s church? They shouldn’t be new believers so that they won’t become proud and fall under the devil’s spell. They should also have a good reputation with those outside the church so that they won’t be embarrassed and fall into the devil’s trap.”

That is a great list, isn't it? Being aware of my own failures and inadequacies, I know it is unlikely that any candidate can completely meet that list. However, I applaud the thinking of our Delegation as they take seriously the task of electing new bishops for our United Methodist Church.

Please pray for our Delegation and for all the Delegations who will be serving at the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences.