Clergy use Twitter to take 'Intergenerational Dialogue' discussion beyond the table


About a year ago Dr. Jamie Jenkins, now Director of New Church Development, had the idea to ask clergy under 45 to meet with him in what he hoped would be a “reverse mentoring” session. It was such a success, that in February of this year he invited clergy over 45 to join in for a day of reflection and dialogue. This week, more than 50 clergy gathered at Simpsonwood UMC for holy conferencing with colleagues of different generations and with varied experiences.
The conversation extended into social media, as some participants--young and old(er)--posted on Twitter and Facebook about their discussions.
Lisa Derrick, pastor at Briarcliff UMC was one of four pastors who spoke to the whole group. Highlights from what she said were tweeted and re-tweeted:
@revjaz: "How do we get people to start asking where I can serve most effectively vs. what's in it for me?" Lisa Derrick
@revscottstweets: How can I serve most effectively? Vs. what's in it for me? Transforming question
@herevrush: Ministry "champions" rather than ministry chairs. What a great idea from Briarcliff UMC!
An early question, “What would you like to learn from the 'other' generation?” elicited answers on Twitter:
@preacherchris: How to keep emotional balance in up and down world of ministry
@ericmatthewlee: At our table: "intergenerationally, we need to hear each other's stories"
Another topic revolved around Holy Conferencing. "It is paramount to the church. What is it? What is it not? "
@RevSondra: Leadership is given when loving and listening precede the holy conferencing
@philschroeder: Holy conferencing is a means of grace
@scwalters: Holy conferencing isn't about swaying someone, it's about understanding someone
@elobello: Holy conferencing = not right or wrong, but discerning together where God is leading
The future of the church was a central topic:
@scwalters: "Will the church on earth grow to reflect the diversity we see in heaven?" Rodrigo Cruz
@scwalters: "The Wesleys went as far as they could go with the status quo and then said something’s got to change" Steve Winter
@ScottHearn: “If the church's future is its past, we can keep on doing the same thing” Carlos Cruz
@fbernat: The Holy Spirit can and will lead the UMC into the future. But the question is, are we listening?
@jasperpastor: Hope the new Zone Connectional Groups can lead to collaboration
After the session wrapped, participants shared words of thanks and appreciation:
@carolynonliving: Great dialogue with Sondra, Phil, and Dick [about] the hope and vision of the UMC
@ericmatthewlee: great hospitality by @SimpsonwoodUMC and @revmaddog
@SimpsonwoodUMC: Thank you Simpsonwood volunteers and staff!
@RevSondra: Thanks to Jamie Jenkins!
While several participated in the Twitter discussion, some kept the conversation off line.
@spinson22: Our table can't multitask, so no tweets for us :)
To look back at the whole Twitter conversation, visit and search #umcintergen.

--Sybil Davidson