Strawbridge UMC Pledges $50,000 to Emerging Leaders Endowment

Date Posted: 4/23/2015

Leaving a leadership legacy is important to the members of Strawbridge UMC, Kingwood who believe in planning for the future.
The future is counting on us – and the members of Strawbridge UMC, Kingwood are rising to the call to “pay it forward” by pledging $50,000 over the next five years to the Emerging Leaders Endowment. The endowment initiative is helping attract, encourage and develop young people on their journey to ministry through key areas such as 1) Advancing Pastoral Leadership groups, 2) Texas Youth Academy, 3) College Pastoral Intern Project and 4) Ambassador Grants designed to reimburse substantiated expenses related to a seminary education.
According to Bishop Janice R. Huie, “An endowment fund will permanently underwrite the operations of the Emerging Leaders Initiative, relieving the Texas Annual Conference— and our member churches—from ongoing annual fundraising efforts.” The funds, she adds, “will be available in perpetuity so that shifting budgetary priorities and emergency needs will never undercut this investment in the continuing vitality of our Church.”
A member of the very first cohort of the TAC’s Advancing Pastoral Leadership (APL) program, Rev. Todd Jordan knows how much this training meant to him, and was eager to rally his congregation to support similar training programs into the future. “The APL program is supplemented by the conference and was extremely beneficial in helping me become a more effective leader,” he shares. “Upon my appointment as senior pastor here, I felt much more prepared and confident to lead in changing times and lead the church in transformative, externally-focused ways. I know our church wants to ensure more of that kind of training beyond our own lives through this ongoing endowment.”
As current leaders in administrative and financial roles, Will Bridges and Bill McMahon have been completely supportive of the church-wide goal of donating $10,000 a year for five years to this cause. “There was not a concern in the room when we brought up the idea in our leadership meetings,” notes Todd. “Everyone feels good about this decision because they understand the importance of preparing leaders and leaving a legacy that will continue to strengthen the church for decades to come.”
Notes Will, “Strawbridge UMC is blessed to be in position to pay it forward by pledging to the Emerging Leadership Endowment Fund.  Pastor Todd explained the great benefits of this program by sharing his first-hand experience as a benefactor and graduate of the Advancing Pastoral Leadership program. It’s great to have our church growing again under his leadership.” Adds Will, “We are in a solid financial position where we feel empowered to be a part of what will be a great success story with this program.  The whole finance team agreed and we did not hesitate to recommend our pledge.  We believe that over time, many other churches in our conference will benefit from Emerging Leaders as much as we have!”
Bill McMahon, PSPRC Chair agrees. “The Texas Conference is blessed with a committed cadre of pastors and it is essential that we help the next generation answer their call into ministry,” he says. “In addition to prayerfully encouraging members of our own congregation, Strawbridge is pleased to support these Conference programs to expand discernment opportunities.”
Sharing a personal angle, Bill adds, “My son was able to answer God’s call while an undergraduate through a national UMC discernment program conducted in St. Louis.  By having clarity early in his life, he will be completing his seminary training next year at age 26.  Texas Conference programs that reach local high school and college student will increase the opportunity for other young people to start their ministry early and have a full career in God’s service.”
“We are blessed to be in a conference that sets training leaders as a goal, and Strawbridge UMC wants to help make that happen,” Todd adds.