New Director of Development

Date Posted: 10/3/2017

On October 1, 2017, Mary Linda Portner, an active member of St. Paul's UMC in Houston, will begin her role as the first Director of Development for the Texas Annual Conference. As Director of Development, Mary Linda will take on the critical challenge of ensuring the conference is able to fund programs vital to the future of the United Methodist Church Texas Conference.
Mary Linda spent the past 14 years as Director of Advancement at St. Pius X High School in Houston. She loved her job, and had no interest in leaving it until God began nudging her heart in a different direction during her morning devotions. The theme of the devotion was, “What Does God Want You to Do?” The words struck home with Mary Linda. She knew God was asking her to prayerfully consider whether or not He wanted her to step out of her comfort zone in order to serve Him. As she sought the Lord in prayer during the days that followed, she learned about the Texas Conference’s need for a Director of Development. God’s call was becoming clearer, and Mary Linda was ready to answer.
Strengthening the Conference to Lead Well
The Texas Annual Conference is the first conference to hire a permanent Director of Development. Mary Linda will undertake the tremendous task of raising money to fund literacy programs through We Love All God’s Children, land acquisitions for future church plants, the Emerging Leaders Initiative, and Hurricane Harvey recovery. Bishop Scott Jones believes the position is essential to enable the conference to do the important work that lies ahead. “This is a crucial thing that God is calling us to do to,” Bishop Jones said. “It's important to raise money now because the apportionment dollars will never provide enough support for everything we need. These are all initiatives that will strengthen our capacity to lead well. Mary Linda will connect people to the financial channels that already exist and bless them by empowering them to serve Christ through their generous giving.”
An Invitation to Join God’s Work
Mary Linda is excited about the challenges that await her as she begins her new position. She also looks forward to inviting others to step out of their comfort zones to ask the question, “What does God want me to do?” God is at work. He is building churches, beginning literacy programs, training leaders, and providing hurricane recovery. Don’t you want to be a part of His amazing work? Our new Director of Development is ready to extend the invitation to be involved in what God is doing in the Texas Conference.