By Vicki Brown
A $7-million young clergy initiative created by General Conference 2012 to encourage young adults in the United States to respond to God’s call to ordained ministry was approved May 4. The funds will come from money previously budgeted for general church agencies.
The initiative was amended to ensure that all young clergy candidates be included in any initiatives that come from the fund. The provision had originally referred to increasing the number of young elders appointed to local United Methodist churches.
The Rev. Amy Lippoldt, a Kansas West delegate, said her concern was that when young adults are in seminary they are often still discerning what direction their ministry will take.
“I don’t think we should force the discernment process. People should not be forced to declare that they are going to be a local church pastor. We need to nurture young people to all kinds of ordained vocations — elder, deacons, chaplain, higher education,” said Lippoldt, who is pastor of Woodland United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kan.
The funding for this initiative is in addition to the funds that The United Methodist Church has already budgeted for discernment, recruitment, nurturing, education and support of young clergy leaders.
The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry will administer the fund. It will collaborate with other denominational boards and agencies, annual conference boards of ordained ministry, seminaries, bishops and cabinets to determine the most effective use of the Young Clergy Initiative Fund to assist young clergy leaders to reach their own generation and younger generations.