Two clergy to have new roles as congregational specialists

By Jessica Brodie

Two United Methodist clergy members have new roles as congregational specialists.

The Rev. Millie Nelson Smith has been named the congregational specialist for African-American ministries and for the Columbia and Hartsville districts, replacing the Rev. Jeffrey Salley, who has been appointed to pastor the Canaan-Sand Hill Charge in Ridgeville.

Dr. Reginald Lee replaces Smith as the congregational specialist for the Marion and Florence districts.

Both began their new assignments July 1.

Smith said in her new role she hopes to continue to help local churches realize their potential to be change agents in the lives of the people in the congregation, the community and around the world.

“Helping churches become all that God would desire for them to be is my goal,” Smith said. ”I don’t have the answers, but God certainly does. My job is helping them to discern what God is calling them to be and to do. Doing that requires taking a look at our history, current reality, the needs of the community around us, and then determine what our next steps could and should be. It is a big undertaking, but is there anything too hard for God? Certainly not! I am hopeful.”

Lee said he is excited to join the people of the Florence and Marion districts in seeking to find “a more excellent way.”

“I have come to live and serve as a friend, encourager and coach, joining with pastors and lay persons as we announce the Kingdom of God,” Lee said. “My guiding Scripture for my ministry as a congregational specialist is Ephesians 4:12, ‘For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.’”

The six men and women known as congregational specialists are tasked to help United Methodist churches across South Carolina figure out what they need for programming, as well as how they can turn ministry dreams into realities. Congregational specialists help local congregations determine their needs for programming, then assist in finding ways to meet those needs and evaluate their effectiveness. While they do not help with personnel, they can help churches struggling with staffing issues find resources where they can get the help they need. They do everything from leadership and stewardship training to Natural Church Development and even how to get more youth in Sunday school.

Congregational specialists are assigned two districts each. In addition to Smith and Lee, the Rev. Jim Arant works with the Orangeburg and Greenwood districts and specializes in leadership and strategic planning, the Rev. Cathy Joens works with the Anderson and Greenville district and specializes in Christian education, Chris Lynch works with the Rock Hill and Spartanburg districts and specializes in young people ministries and the Rev. Genova McFadden works with the Charleston and Walterboro districts and specializes in congregational revitalization.

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