A letter from Kevin…
Serving as the Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries with UMC Discipleship Ministries for the past 21 years has been such a privilege. I want to express how rich with meaning life has been knowing, supporting, and growing with you as colleagues in camp and retreat ministries across the United Methodist Church. I leave this role with deep gratitude to all of you for the opportunity to serve you. I’m grateful for the ways we have rallied together to grow as spiritual leaders dedicated to create a strong, innovative future for the ministries we steward and those we serve. It is a challenging time as the landscape of society and the wider church rapidly changes, and yet exciting to be engaged in what is emerging as we join God in the midst of it all.
I am very excited about joining the Susquehanna Conference (PA) team as the Director of Camp/Retreat and Discipleship Ministries, which begins on January 1, 2018. This position fits so well with my gifts and graces and the vision of the Conference. It is energizing to be coming on board with a dynamic group of leaders there. In addition, my parents live in Pennsylvania. They are now in their 80’s, and being a part of their lives and supporting them is an important dimension of my Christian journey and calling in this season of life, too. Prayerful discernment and insight gleaned from many conversations clarified that this is Christ’s path for me. Still, I will certainly miss being with Discipleship Ministries, which is progressing in some very exciting ways.
Undoubtedly, some of you are wondering how my transition to a new position may impact Camp and Retreat Ministry moving forward. First, it is vital to realize that the networking, consultations, visioning and strategic planning, motivating resources and newsletters, social media networking, training and certification courses, fundraising for leadership development scholarships, and much more arise from the creativity, dedication, and hard work of many people in the UMCRM community, not just the Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries. This collaborative network of leaders, including all those involved in the United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministry Association, will continue to work on behalf of the whole. This rich network of inspiration and support has been a true partnership.
While the way we resource our leaders has always been collaborative in nature, that does not diminish at all the value of having a staff position within Discipleship Ministries with expertise in camp retreat ministries and time to lead initiatives that help align and enhance the missional effectiveness of camp and retreat as a pathway for growing world-transforming disciples and spiritual leaders. I have intentionally prepared a document that outlines the most important initiatives underway in order to facilitate a smooth transition for a new person coming into this role. I have strongly encouraged Discipleship Ministries to identify and bring someone on board in a timely way and to continue camp and retreat ministry within its staff portfolio. Fortunately, there are many capable leaders who have the gifts and graces for camp and retreat ministries along with the all-encompassing missional initiatives that are priorities for all staff with Discipleship Ministries. Each time a staff person transitions at Discipleship Ministries, job descriptions and the focus of positions are re-evaluated. This discernment and decision process will be in the hands of the leadership team at Discipleship Ministries in Nashville.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for the ways you have encouraged me, extended grace, and valued my contributions over the years. Obviously, no one person can do it all and I recognize that there is much yet to be done. I have tried diligently to be faithful to the trust you have placed in me and to utilize my gifts to serve you and God. Thank you for the opportunity. Know that I am not riding off into the sunset. We have a powerful heritage of helping each other. I will continue to be a part of this great circle of colleagues and friends in a new way. My new email address will be firstname.lastname@example.org beginning January 1, 2018.
Kevin Witt, November 15th, 2017