United Alumna Named Chief Strategist for Vital Congregations

Congratulations to Rev. Sara B. Thomas ’04, who joined the staff of Discipleship Ministries on Dec. 1 as Chief Strategist for Vital Congregations. Discipleship Ministries is an agency of The United Methodist Church that supports annual conferences, districts and local churches in carrying out the UMC mission, “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Reprinted with permission from Discipleship Ministries.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Nov. 12, 2014 /Discipleship Ministries/ – The Rev. Sara B. Thomas, who led a new ministry initiative in Cincinnati that involved a network of churches with diverse ministry contexts, will join the staff of Discipleship Ministries on Dec. 1 as Chief Strategist for Vital Congregations.

The appointment of Thomas, currently senior pastor of Maize Manor United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio, to the position of Deputy General Secretary was announced by Dr. Timothy L. Bias, General Secretary (chief executive) of Discipleship Ministries.

“I look forward to Sara joining our staff, assisting us in aligning our ministries with vital congregations and leading us in building the systems that produce congregational vitality,” Bias said. “Together, we are building the systems that make a difference in our church and the world.”

Ordained as an elder in the West Ohio Annual Conference in 2008, Thomas has served as senior pastor of Maize Manor UMC since May. She previously served on the staff at Hyde Park Community UMC in Cincinnati.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in leadership at Discipleship Ministries and look forward to encouraging and resourcing annual conferences and local churches for vitality,” Thomas said. “It is my prayer that the work of Discipleship Ministries will continue to resource the United Methodist Church in fulfilling our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

As Chief Strategist for Vital Congregations, Thomas will provide direct leadership to the programmatic divisions of Discipleship Ministries. Her responsibility will be to ensure that all ministries assigned to the agency by the General Conference, and the processes to develop and maintain those ministries, are in alignment with vital congregations.

Thomas also will be responsible for ensuring the implementation of Discipleship Ministries’ strategic plan and will serve as a member of the executive staff leadership group.

While serving at Hyde Park, she supervised staff, interns and volunteers in a ministry called Awaken the City that involved 23 local churches in a discipleship process based on engagement in the city. “Through the network of churches and diverse ministry contexts, I have learned that environments may change, but the need for transformation remains,” Thomas said.

Thomas received a bachelor’s degree in communication arts at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., and a master’s degree in higher education administration at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She oversaw new student programs at Miami for four years before following God’s call to full-time ministry.

She served as a youth pastor at Mason UMC in Mason, Ohio, from 2001-2008 while earning a Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary in 2004. She is completing work on a Doctor of Ministry degree in Missional Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

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