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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    resources / Vital Congregations

    Competencies

    Upper New York Annual Conference Leadership Competencies

    Primary Understanding – Investment is made in transformational leaders, transformational leaders develop vital congregations, and vital congregations make disciples, new and existing, of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

    Technical Competencies

    • Spiritual Life of the Leader* --A leader must tend to their soul and life. This includes a vital and vibrant devotional life encompassing engagement with the Scriptures, time for prayer and additional spiritual disciplines. Further, the spiritual life of a leader must include a balance of physical, emotional, and mental health.
    • Methodist/Wesleyan Ethos -- We are called to participate in the Christian movement as United Methodists. Therefore our theology and praxis must be rooted and consistent with the tenets of the Wesleyan understanding.
    • Vision and Alignment -- The ability to discern God’s vision with a congregation and align the resources of the congregation around that vision are essential functions of leadership. Additionally a leader must be the lead champion of the vision by articulating the vision clearly, consistently and with great regularity.
    • Ministry Plan -- leadership is able to guide and direct the process of the creating, implementation and evaluation of a clearly defined ministry plan. This plan includes the stewardship and financial needs of the congregation, reaching to the neighbors of the congregation, developing other leaders, and the growth of individuals and ministries. A key component to an effective and sustainable ministry plan is the ability to develop, resource, and empower teams for ministry.
    • Faith Sharing/Evangelism -- The leader needs to set the example and equip others in the practice of sharing the story of Christ with the world.
    • Intentional Discipleship System -- leadership helps a congregation to have a clear path to help a person deepen their faith in God through Jesus Christ. The discipleship system includes a plan to identify, develop and deploy new leaders while continuing to develop the leaders already in place.
    • From Inward to Outward* -- leadership has the capacity to lead a congregation from being inwardly focused to fully engaging the community around the congregation.
    • Passionate, Relevant Worship -- It is the leader’s responsibility to lead the congregation in providing worship experiences that connects with those already participating as well as draws new people into participation. Regardless of style, worship services must evidence a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ and translate that passion to people in a way that is relatable to their day-to-day life. This best accomplished when a team approach is utilized.

    Adaptive Competencies

    • Learning Agility – Leadership is having the willingness and ability to adapt and learn so that they are able to provide the best leadership. Learning is done with self-ownership, not being sent to attend.
    • Self-Awareness – Knowing what is happening within us and how that impacts, or is impacted by what is happening around us. Leaders have a high level of self-awareness and respond and lead in light of their awareness.
    • Comfort with ambiguity – We live in an increasingly complex and less predictable world that thrives on uncertainty. Leadership needs to be able to continue to lead even when all the steps and outcomes are not clear.
    • Strategic Thinking – Leadership is the process by which a congregation keeps focus on the vision and goals. This means also helping the congregation to be intentional, or strategic, about how it functions.
    • Complex Problem-Solving – most of the problems we face have multiple layers and components. A transformative leadership process is able to navigate the challenges and problems while engaging all the factors and inputs.
    • Lead Change -- Leadership must understand what it takes to walk with a congregation through change. Significant to leading change is an increased awareness of the leader to the emotional content of change. This awareness includes the leader’s emotions, as well as the emotions of those they are leading.
    • Collaboration – The days of the sole heroic leader are gone. Leadership is done more through teams and networks than the effort and energy of one person. Functioning in a way that fosters a culture and practice of collaboration is an essential role of leadership.
    • Systems thinking – congregations are the nexus point for several systems. The coming together of these systems defines and propagates the way the congregation exists and handles anxieties and opportunities. Leadership must know how to navigate and impact these systems positively.

    *These competencies require significant adaptive work as well.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 867 local churches and 65 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."