Exodus Project and other changes

The Central Texas Conference has undergone a complete reorganization and we are currently living in a time of incredible change. The changes have all occurred and now we are in the process of evaluating the changes. I was hired in the midst of these changes and while I’m aware of the old system, I never worked in it in the CTC. This is a blessing and a curse – makes things easier and harder at the same time.

Many local churches haven’t heard of the Exodus Project, let alone know what it means. In terms of youth and young adults, the theoretical changes aren’t nearly as important as the practical changes. The first change that affected youth ministry in our conference was the dissolving of the student leadership teams effective August 1st. Another big change is the creation of my job – Specialist: Youth and Young Adults. This is an incredible intimidating job title and I’m still figuring out exactly what it means.

What I do know is that my job is to be out in the community, in churches, and meeting with folks. My job description calls me to be out of the office 75% of the time – meeting with pastors, youth ministers, volunteers, youth, young adult ministers, young adults, and committees. I do presentations, meet at Starbucks, check out churches and ministries, resource, connect, and above all, get to know people. I don’t have all the answers, but I do my best to figure things out, read a lot of books, and introduce people so that they can help each other.

Of course, I’m also responsible for conference leadership teams, communications, etc. but the majority of my job is what could be considered “consulting.” It is my desire to connect with churches who are looking to start, grow, or revive youth and young adult programs. I hope to learn from those in our area that are successful and thriving to help those who are struggling or new. Ministry is different in every context so I spend a great deal of time learning about your personal ministry context. This includes demographics, geography, and church programming and history.

Bishop Lowry has been very clear that the conference staff is to have a paradigm shift from away from programming and move towards equipping and energizing churches. My job is to be a broker of information rather than a programmer.

All of this is to say – I cannot wait to meet you, be in ministry with you, hear your joys and help you navigate your struggles. I love checking out local restaurants in your area and would love to join you for lunch or dinner. My door is always open!

Leanne Johnston
Specialist: Youth & Young Adults
Central TX Conference of the United Methodist Church
464 Bailey Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
817-877-5222 ext. 19