Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Conference adopts onboarding process for new district, cabinet leaders


The Oklahoma Conference has adopted an onboarding process for its leaders. New district superintendents and cabinet members underwent the process in August to help them better get to know their ministry contexts and those they would be working with.

“Whenever you have a new person, either as a pastor or as a DS, most people want to get to know them; it also gives the new pastor or DS an idea of issues that pop up,” said Chris Tiger, the director of congregational development and conference resources. “You can get a sense of the issues coming in, what are the best practices that were done in the past, what was helpful for them. Instead of having however many conversations, everyone gets to hear the same thing. It saves a lot of time, and it gives a head start to the work that you need to do together with your team.”

Tiger said the onboarding process is different from both the formal DS training, which he said was more informational, and the Passing the Baton seminar, which is to help welcome pastors to new appointments. The process helps leaders learn about important aspects and issues of their new appointment while offering staff or stakeholders the opportunity to get to know the new leadership.

The onboarding process used with OKUMC leaders was developed by Claire Bowen, a lay human resources professional in the Northern Georgia Conference. In 2016, the process was adopted for new bishops in the Southeastern Jurisdiction; this year is the first time a training for the onboarding process was held outside the jurisdiction.

Though at this time Tiger is the only person in the Oklahoma Conference trained to lead the onboarding process, he believes there’s a real possibility additional leaders will need to be trained to help bring the process to individual churches across the state.

“I think this is something that is gaining momentum across the UMC,” Tiger said. “I’m hopeful this can be another tool that can help with the transition process for leaders in our conference.”


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