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Both full-time and part-time local pastor numbers grew, with the latter growing faster. Lovett Weems, director of the Lewis Center, has long followed United Methodist clergy trends.He notes that in 1990, elders outnumbered local pastors 5 to 1.

S., but licensed local pastors are on the increase.But Bickerton and others insist local pastors often make the case for themselves by bringing skills from other careers, as well as a high level of commitment and understanding of the local culture. Ted Smith is superintendent of the Virginia Conference’s Fredericksburg District, and monitors its statistics in membership, attendance, professions of faith, baptisms and stewardship. Holy Week, with its extra services, nearly did them in.“We’re seeing some of our most effective, dynamic results from local pastors, hands down,” Smith said. John and Judy Flynn, a local pastor married couple, serve 10 small, rural churches in West Virginia. This slideshow by UMNS photographer Mike Du Bose offers images of them and their churches on Easter morning, 2015. John likes to tell about the time he got lost on the way to one of his churches, and had to stop for help at a nondenominational church.But Jackson is not an ordained elder, the kind of United Methodist pastor who spent three or four years getting a master of divinity degree and made it through provisional member elder status to become “fully connected,” with a guaranteed appointment.She’s a full-time licensed local pastor who answered her call to ministry in middle age.

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