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Bishop Delores J. Williamston Announces Strategic Appointments
- Rev. Ali Young has been appointed as Director of Clergy Excellence
- Rev. Chad Brooks has been appointed as Congregational Vitality Strategist
- Rev. Robert Johnson has been appointed as Black Church Vitality Strategist
- Dr. Van A. Stinson will be reappointed to his seventh year as Assistant to the Bishop, assuming additional responsibilities
Bishop Delores J. Williamston of the Louisiana Conference has recently announced three significant appointments that will take effect on July 1, 2023. These appointments, which involve the Office of Clergy Excellence, Congregational Vitality, and Black Church Renewal, aim to address the growing need to strategically address challenges and opportunities in the Louisiana Conference.
In the wake of disaffiliations and emerging faith expressions, Bishop Williamston emphasizes the importance of strategic thinking and a better understanding of the local context. With the aim of gathering new faith communities and also strengthening Black United Methodist churches, the bishop believes that these appointments will pave the way for a thriving witness in Louisiana and a renewed sense of mission.
Currently serving as the Associate Director, Rev. Young has been providing support and coordination for the Board of Ordained Ministry, the District Committees on Ordained Ministry, and the Cabinet.
In her expanded role, she will lead the coordination of clergy recruitment and leadership development. Working closely with the Cabinet and Board of Ordained Ministry, Rev. Young will identify key metrics of effectiveness and fruitfulness, while also providing support and sustenance to clergy in their life and work.
Bishop Williamston commends Rev. Ali Young's passion, faith, and precision in ministry. "Her commitment to supporting clergy of all generations and stages in their ministry, as well as addressing clergy burnout and well-being will be instrumental in providing the necessary leadership to meet the growing needs of the clergy in the Louisiana Conference."
"Rev. Ali Young brings energy and expertise to everything she does," Rev. Stinson says. "Her organizational and administrative skills, her love for the church, her passion for ministry, and for helping support and sustain clergy in their life and ministry make her well-qualified for this position. I look forward to serving alongside Ali in this important work."
Young says she is honored to have the opportunity to serve the clergy of the Louisiana Conference. "As we continue to emerge from denominational unrest, it is essential for us to care for our churches and our pastors," Young says. "It is my hope to continue exploring the ways we can refine our systems, and create opportunities to better equip, support, and encourage our clergy. I am so hopeful for our future ministry together, and I am grateful to be a part of the continued ministry of the United Methodist Church in Louisiana."
While continuing to serve as the pastor of Glenmora United Methodist Church and as a consultant with Passion in Partnership, Rev. Brooks will now work closely with the Cabinet to develop and implement strategies for revitalization and renewal of existing congregations.
Additionally, he will identify strategic locations for new United Methodist faith communities, taking into account the challenges posed by disaffiliation. Rev. Brooks will collaborate with the Office of Clergy Excellence and the Cabinet to align congregational revitalization with leadership development, fostering a more collaborative approach to congregational vitality.
Bishop Williamston recognizes Rev. Chad Brooks' expertise in church starts and his commitment to making disciples of Jesus Christ. "Rev. Brooks' experience and leadership will be instrumental in reaching and connecting those in ministry deserts and transitioning Stay UMC members," Bishop Williamston says. "Under Rev. Brooks' guidance, I am confident new faith communities will form, extending the love of Christ to those who have not yet found a worshipping community."
"Rev. Chad Brooks will bring firsthand experience to this position from his work as a church planter and pastor as well as his work with Passion in Partnership, which focuses on strategic and leadership development for both clergy and laity," Says Stinson. "Chad’s commitment to collaborative models of leadership and ministry will be especially helpful as we rethink our approach to congregational vitality and transformation."
Brooks says one of his biggest passions is helping congregations and pastors dream big and accomplish big goals. "I am excited to begin the ministry of being a congregational strategist to my family here in the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church," Brooks says. "I look forward to learning from you, sharing the love of Jesus, and working together in making disciples in all of the communities here in Louisiana. I like to run fast, and I know we have big work ahead of us, but it is my absolute joy to be in ministry to and with you."
In this role, Rev. Johnson will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies to revitalize and strengthen historic and predominantly African American United Methodist congregations across the Louisiana Conference. Rev. Johnson will work closely with the Bishop and Cabinet to evaluate, identify, and develop existing and new African American communities of faith. He will provide training, resources, and coaching to congregations to develop leaders and enhance missional effectiveness.
Starting July 1, Rev. Johnson will also begin serving the Calvary-Magnolia charge in Thibodeaux.
One of the first things Bishop Williamston notes about Johnson is his infectious spirit and love for the Lord that you immediately encounter when you talk with him. "He will take you to church in a matter of minutes!," says Bishop Williamston. "His experience in the Black church context and understanding of serving in a cross-racial and cross-cultural context brings hope and ministry opportunities for laity and clergy as we move towards the future of the Church. Rev. Johnson will bring a valuable African American perspective and strategy to understand and strengthen the context of the Black UM churches in the Louisiana Conference as we vision forward in today's times."
Rev. Robert Johnson's extensive leadership experience in the Louisiana Conference and his deep investment in community make him an ideal candidate for this role. His passion for the ministry and his belief in the transformative power of the church will serve him well as he works to revitalize and strengthen African American congregations.
Stinson says Johnson’s history of effective leadership in the Louisiana Conference speaks for itself. "He is one of our most respected clergy leaders and brings a wealth of insight and experience to this new role of working to revitalize and strengthen the ministry and witness of our historic African American congregations in the Louisiana Conference," Stinson says. "His love for the church and his belief that the church is at its best when it is deeply invested in its community will serve him well in this work."
Rev. Van Stinson Reappointed to Eighth Year as A2B
Meanwhile, Rev. Dr. Van A. Stinson will be reappointed to his eighth year as Assistant to the Bishop, assuming additional responsibilities as the Director of Connectional Ministries.
In this role, Stinson will support and extend the work of the Bishop, serve as the chief ecumenical officer, and coordinate the administrative and programmatic work of the conference. Stinson will also provide leadership and oversight to the organizational restructure and missional alignment of the Conference in the post-disaffiliation context.
Bishop Williamston expresses her confidence in Dr. Van A. Stinson's ability to provide leadership and vision. "Dr. Stinson's expertise will allow the conference to begin taking a closer look at the current organizational structure and alignment of the Annual Conference. I am confident Dr. Stinson's leadership will encourage the entire conference as we rebuild relationships and move forward in hope!"
"The Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church is poised for a new chapter of growth and vitality under the leadership of these strategic appointments," says Stinson. "With a focus on supporting clergy, revitalizing existing congregations, and strengthening African American churches, we are determined to meet the challenges of the present and build a thriving future for the United Methodist Church in Louisiana. God is not finished with us yet!"
Rev. Ali Young grew up in Shreveport, LA and heard a call into ministry at Grace Community United Methodist Church. Ali is married to Wesley who she met at Grace Community in the Youth Band. Together they have three sons, Liam, Niall, and Carson. Ali loves spending time with her family and learning with her boys about animals and a wide variety of other topics. She aspires to be a crazy plant lady with a fruitful Meyer lemon tree.
She is a graduate of Louisiana State University and The Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Ali served at Ingleside UMC (2015-2018), University UMC, Baton Rouge (2018-2020), and First UMC, Gonzales (2020-2022). Most recently, she’s been serving as the Associate Director of Clergy Excellence for the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Ali is looking forward to serving as the Director of Clergy Excellence and hopes to continue to explore ways we can help our clergy find opportunities for renewal, growth, and sustainable futures.
Rev. Chad Brooks grew up in a ministerial family within the church but developed a passion for gathering people and honing his skills in group organization in the indie rock scene of the late 90s. After serving in various churches and denominations, he found his way to the United Methodist Church while working in campus ministry at Louisiana Tech University. It was there that he encountered Wesley's doctrine of Entire Sanctification, which led him to discover the church home he had been seeking. During this time, he met his wife, Meredith Brooks, and they married in 2005.
Having completed a Master's of Divinity at Asbury Seminary and worked in the Office of Community Life, Chad, and Meredith returned to their roots in Louisiana. Chad served as a member of the pastoral staff at St. Paul's UMC in Monroe and later spent eight years as a church planter, launching Foundry in Sterlington. Concurrently, he also served on the Board of Congregational Development and the worship design team for the Annual Conference's yearly meeting.
In his most recent roles, Rev. Brooks has served as the Pastor of both Glenmora and Oakdale United Methodist Church. Additionally, he engages in extension ministry as a coach and developer with Passion in Partnership, a United Methodist ministry affiliated with the Western North Carolina conference. For the past decade, Chad has been the steward of Productive Pastor, a community of pastors dedicated to embracing a healthy and effective approach to living out their calling.
Chad and Meredith currently reside in Alexandria. He is thrilled to contribute to the Louisiana Conference as a congregational strategist. His primary passion in ministry lies in assisting churches in discovering effective ways to reach their mission field and illuminate new places with the life and light of Christ.
Rev. Robert Earl Johnson, Sr. was born on October 28, 1962. He was baptized and raised in faith at Calvary United Methodist Church of Thibodaux, Louisiana. He is married to Tammy M. Johnson, and they have three children, Robert Jr., Ryan Sr., and Tamara. They have been blessed with four grandchildren. He has over 30 years of sales and management experience from his previous career in the corporate world.
While attending the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, he obeyed the call of God. He accepted his calling to the ministry by saying, "Here am I, Lord, send me." (Isaiah 6:8). He was licensed to preach in 2004 by the Texas United Methodist Church Conference at Lon Morris College.
He completed the Course of Study, as a local pastor, in 2012 at Millsaps College and continues to learn and grow in the word of God. He began serving as pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in July 2004 and was appointed to pastor Magnolia United Methodist Church in April 2006. In June 2013, he was appointed to Mallalieu UMC in St Martinville and the New Church On Louisiana Avenue UMC in Lafayette, now named Louisiana Avenue UMC, where he currently serves as pastor. Under his leadership, Impact Ministry was launched in 2014. This ministry takes the “church to the streets”, praying with the homeless population and feeding over 200 people monthly throughout the city of Lafayette. He is the former pastor of Indian Bayou UMC, where he started a 24-hour Food Pantry under his leadership, and is now currently pastoring at Kaplan UMC as well. At this church, Rev. Johnson began a partnership campus ministry program with R. Rost Middle School. God had gifted him to pastor two cross-racial appointments.
He won the Harry Denman Evangelism Award in 2008 and 2012 at the Louisiana United Methodist Church Conference. Rev. Johnson is a leader who believes in helping others find their gifts and talents and then use them to build the ministries of the church. Louisiana Avenue UMC, under Rev. Johnson's leadership faith community, has won three Wesley awards at the Louisiana Annual Conference for meeting new people and transforming lives.
Reverend Robert Johnson, Sr. is making a difference across the Louisiana Conference. He serves on different committees at the district and conference levels. He serves on the Lake Charles - Acadiana District and Conference, Board of Ordained Ministry, Executive Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry, Assistant Dean of Licensing School, Black Churches Design Team Cohort, and Local Pastors /Associate Members Fellowship Chair.
His mission is to make a difference in the community and impact people's lives. He loves serving, motivating, mentoring, and encouraging those who may not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. He will search the street corners, alleys, and neighborhoods to find those who cannot help themselves. As a pastor, he seeks to take the church (congregation) to places beyond the walls of a building to share the gospel. He lives by the mission of his community "Meeting people at the point of their needs, where Jesus meets us all."
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