UMC Higher Education Leader's Focus on Mission, Recruiting Full-Time Ministers

(Photo Credit: GBHEM)Rev. Kim Cape, General Secretary of the General Board of Higher Education & Ministry speaks to board members at a meeting in Nashville, Tenn. during a meeting on October 11, 2012.

The General Secretary of the United Methodist Church's higher education board says her focus going forward - with the aid of the board and the guidance of the Holy Spirit - will be on mission through the recruitment of young people to serve as full-time ministers and by helping them complete their theological education.

The Rev. Dr. Kim Cape told the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) at a conference earlier this month the Church's expectations of them.

"The Church expects us to cultivate a new generation of young United Methodist clergy. We are called to reform the clergy system by making the recruitment of gifted young people to full-time ministry a priority and devote resources to helping the complete their theological education," she said at the October 11-12 board meeting in Nashville, Tenn., according to a video of her address released by the board.

She also spoke about energizing the Church and clergy performance expectations.

"We are called to work with seminaries to train for the skills and practices most needed to energize and existing churches and start new ones and to encourage the deployment of clergy to mission fields for which they have affinity," she said. "We are called to help bishops and cabinets more promptly exit low-performing clergy from the system."

The GBHEM board has recently been downsized from more than 60 members to 23 as the denomination faces fiscal challenges.

She also made note of funds available to help with the board's work, including a Special Seminarian Scholarship fund the board created in 2005 ($2.5 million), a fund for a Young Clergy Initiative ($7 million), and money to create a Central Conference Theological Education Fund ($5 million).

"It is my intent as General Secretary to focus on mission. I believe the board structure, while not perfect, is the best way to organize a connectional church for mission. I think you are here for a reason. Who do we need to be as GBHEM and what do we need to do now to ensure our future? What do we need to learn? These are questions we will answer together through the work of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Spirit's guidance. I hope together we can model for the church the best way forward."

She added: "In south Texas we have an expression that's used, I think too much by one of the car dealerships. It's called 'dale gas.' And that means, 'Let's give it gas.' Thank you."

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