Name: Bill Martin
Role: Lay Delegate
Local Church: Dacula UMC
Legislative Committee: Judicial Administration
Q: General Conference is about to start in a few hours. How are you feeling?
A: I’m feeling good. I’m looking forward to worship this afternoon. I’ve heard the worship services are amazing at General Conference. I’m just really excited to get going.
Q: Sounds like you are ready to get your first General Conference experience started!
A: Yeah, I think I’m ready. I’ve been paired with John Simmons on the Judicial Legislative Committee, and couldn't have asked to be paired with anyone better. He has taught me a lot by helping me participate in all the meetings, and helping me to understand the intent of some of the legislation we will look at. So, thanks to that, and my own preparation, I’m comfortable with what we are about to start discussing.
Q: What is one of the areas your committee will be looking at?
A: General Board of Higher Education Ministry has come out with a new procedure for clergy who find themselves on trial. We are looking at ways to [get a just resolution] that are more transparent and more efficient.
Q: Has your personal work experience helped you out with this?
A: Walking into an arena like this with all these people isn’t intimidating for me, but what we are about to embark upon in our legislative committees is intimidating. I’ve traveled the world doing business overseas, so I’m comfortable with different languages and cultures—I’m used to that. I also think that being a small business owner has helped me to really understand the finances that are attached with the legislation. I get finances, and I can relate to those aspects when they come up.
Q: What are you looking forward to concerning General Conference?
A: I’m really looking forward to worship. I think the second thing is experiencing our connectional nature here at General Conference. Getting to know people from other conferences and experiencing our connection—now that’s great. As District Lay Leader of the Atlanta Emory District, I preach that a lot—our connectional system is so unique and wonderful. Learning from each other’s experiences is powerful.
Q: Any anxieties for the next two weeks?
A: To move an organization as big as the United Methodist Church will take people setting aside some of their own agendas. You can’t turn a ship this big around in a hurry. I’m fearful that we will walk out of Tampa and find that we haven’t done anything. We can’t stay the course of everything being status quo.
To read more about Bill, please find his bio here.