Identifying the needs of local churches and working to meet those needs is one of Dr. Nita Crump’s passions.
As the new Director of Connectional Ministries, Dr. Crump has the opportunity to help resource, connect, and equip churches on a conference-wide scale.
The Director of Connectional Ministries (DCM) is the steward of the vision of the annual conference; a leader of the process of transformation and renewal; responsible for alignment of resources, and overseer of the connectional ministries of the South Georgia Annual Conference, connecting local, district, annual conference, and general church ministries. The DCM is also instrumental in planning the annual conference sessions, and Dr. Crump will also serve as the 2019 Conference Secretary.
“I am excited to welcome Dr. Nita Crump into her new role as our Director of Connectional Ministries,” said Bishop Lawson Bryan, episcopal leader of the South Georgia Conference. “Her background as a local church pastor and as a district superintendent equips her well for this conference-wide role. Nita has distinguished herself as person of creativity and innovation. These qualities are evident in her passion for finding practical resources to strengthen local churches of all sizes. Her personal experience as a pastor and as a district superintendent will enable Nita to position Connectional Ministries as a strong connecting link among local churches, the cabinet, the districts, and the boards and agencies of the Conference. Dr. Crump has already reminded us that our Connectional Ministries staff is a talented team with a track record of excellence in ministry. Dr. Crump and the Connectional Ministries team are already at work to explore all the ways they can help us expand and deepen what it means to be Alive Together in Christ. Thanks be to God for such a strong Office of Connectional Ministries.”
Dr. Crump, having served four years as superintendent of the Southwest District, has an understanding of the scope of work done by the Connectional Ministries team and would like to see others in the conference know the breadth and value of their work.
“I know that Connectional Ministries accomplishes a huge number of missions and ministries and work, and a lot of it flies under the radar; a lot of it is stuff that people don’t even realize Connectional Ministries is doing,” she said. “My dream is to have folks recognize all the work that is done by Connectional Ministries and the resources that are available to make churches stronger."
Among her goals are those set forth by the Annual Conference and Bishop Bryan’s Strategic Initiatives Team: to increase worship attendance, to increase leadership training, and to develop hope-filled churches that reach out into their communities. The role of Connectional Ministries, she said, is to publicize what is already being done to accomplish those goals and to begin to understand the needs of local churches so more activities, events, and resources can be offered to churches to encourage them to work toward the goals.
“To help churches I think we first need to understand what’s already happening,” Dr. Crump said. “How are you already working to accomplish these goals and what do you need? What can Connectional Ministries help provide? Once we understand what’s out there we’ll know where we need to move to try to meet those needs to make our churches stronger.”
Another of Dr. Crump’s goals is to make the Office of Connectional Ministries a one-stop resource, a go-to for South Georgia United Methodists. If someone asks how something’s done or what should be done, Dr. Crump wants Connectional Ministries to be seen as the team with the answers.
“I really want Connectional Ministries to become the glue that holds the connection together,” she said, noting that the strength of the office comes from its staff, their long-term experience, and their deep knowledge of the conference. “They know the resources that are out there and are available. I think that Connectional Ministries and the work that’s done rest on the back of some very qualified and talented people, and that’s the greatest strength we have.”
With all the Church is facing in the coming years, Dr. Crump sees Connectional Ministries’ mission and ministry as critical to helping preserve that distinctive United Methodist connection.
“With all that we’re facing in the coming years, there’s the very real possibility that we’ll become even less connected as we figure out how to move forward, so I want Connectional Ministries to really become the glue that helps hold us together,” she said. “Connectional Ministries is there to help encourage people to remain connected to the rest of the Church and also remain connected to Christ as we reach out to the community.
“There is so much potential in the South Georgia Conference for us to reach new people and bring them to Christ, and I’m really excited about being able to help with that on a conference-wide level.”