The cabinets of the Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain conferences have identified an unmet need in small congregations. An increasing number of churches are experiencing long-term decline, making it impossible for them to afford full-time clergy leadership. This pattern requires adaptive change within the congregation and in the leadership of the conferences to enable vital ministry to flourish. District superintendents find it difficult to give the focused attention necessary to help these congregations change in ways that promote vitality.
In response to this need, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky has announced her intention to appoint Wyoming District Superintendent Deb Olenyik to a new position as Transitional Ministry Developer, effective July 1, 2015. "I see this as a two-year position to get us up-to-speed in an area of unmet need," said Bishop Stanovsky. Rev. Olenyik will work hands-on with some congregations, but also develop resources, training, and a sustainable system for this work beyond the two years.
"We're trying to ensure every church is a center of vital ministry," Stanovsky added. "We can't lose our United Methodist presence in small communities, but we also can't afford to subsidize United Methodist presence in small, struggling churches. Deb has proven her ability to do this work. Now she's going to teach us all how to do it."
In response to this call, Rev. Olenyik said, "It is a blessing to be given this opportunity to serve our Lord and our Bishop, as well as the pastors and laity of the Mountain Sky Area. I thank all who provided support during these past fruitful years serving as the Wyoming District Superintendent. I have become increasingly aware of the important ministry and discipleship development roles our smaller congregations have as well as our mid-sized and larger congregations. By God's grace, I look forward to this new ministry in the coming year for Christ and Christ's beloved ones."
Go to the Appointments/Assignments page online to see an updated list of church openings, assignments and retirement announcements.