Local pastors — non-ordained, and in most cases without a seminary degree — are growing in number and taking on more roles in The United Methodist Church.
United Methodist News Services’s Sam Hodges provides coverage of the overall trend, the rapid growth of part-time local pastors, the use of local pastors in Hispanic outreach and the challenges faced by local pastors in in the Central Conferences.
He also profiles six part-time local pastors of the West Virginia Conference, including a grocer, a corrections officer and the 2013 state Teacher of the Year.
Slideshow: A look at local pastors
For a series about the growing importance of licensed local pastors, photographer Mike DuBose traveled around West Virginia and Kentucky and captured images of them in their churches. View
Local pastors lead Hispanic outreach
Conferences turn to non-elder clergy for help in reaching fast-growing demographic. Read More
Central conferences depend on local pastors
Challenges abound, but non-ordained clergy 'swing the arms' in faith. Read More
Part-time pastors claiming more pulpits
As ordained elder numbers decline, The United Methodist Church is depending more on bivocational and other part-time local pastors. Read More
When jail shift ends, he's off to preach
Corrections officer doesn't always have time to change out of his uniform, but congregation understands. Read More
Lessons learned as grocer helped him lead churches
'I learned time management from Kroger,' part-time pastor says. Read More
Former cop finds fulfillment as part-time pastor
Her four small country churches offer challenge, and a good place to pray. Read More
Teacher of the Year is part-time preacher
The Rev. Michael Funkhouser found fulfillment in classroom and pulpit. Read More
Rudy Rasmus’ Church Growth Tips
Pastor Rudy's challenge: make the most of 52 Sundays a year. His church grew from 9 members to 9,000. The secret: "Don't bore 'em!" View