New 'Continuing Formation' policy & manual for Memphis Conference clergy go into effect Jan. 1


An updated "Continuing Formation" policy and manual created by the Continuing Formation Team of the Memphis Conference Board of Ministry will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.
The policy and manual will direct clergy along a path of education and spiritual growth, according to Rev. Lora Jean Gowan, pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church in Paducah, Kentucky, who coordinated the project for the Board of Ministry of the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church.

The updated policy and manual help clergy document their continuing education, know how their progress is monitored and why continuing education is important.
The policy update supports the United Methodist Book of Discipline that Gowan said “gives clear instruction as to how we are to proceed as clergy engaged fully in ministry and the educational process.” 


“Throughout their careers, clergy shall engage in continuing education for ministry,
professional development, and spiritual formation and growth
in order to lead the church in fulfilling the mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ.
This shall include carefully developed personal programs of study augmented periodically
by involvement in organized educational and spiritual growth activities.”  
~ United Methodist Book of Discipline, ¶ 351, Continuing Education and Spiritual Growth
Beginning in 2018, Gowan said staff-parish/pastor-parish committees will monitor clergy progress and report to their district superintendents each calendar year.
She reminded clergy that ”(continuing education) funds are available as part of the Memphis Conference’s covenant to make continuing formation available and affordable.” For more information about this, see the section headed "Continuing Education Grants" on page 4 of the manual.
For John Wesley, Gowan said, “education at its best was a life-long process guided by the Holy Spirit towards personal and social holiness, and it was the best possible tool for evangelism, for training in holiness, and for the betterment of society.”
Wesley’s life was punctuated by small study groups and personal striving toward perfection," added Gowan, and "as we pattern ourselves after our founding father, we also, look upon education as part of our life-long journey and ministry focus.”

For more information, contact Gowan at