Empowering the Church to be faithful to God's call, reflective of Christ's mission, and open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit.
There has been no shortage of surprises along my journey. I welcome all the calls the Holy Spirit presents to me as I seek to challenge the church to be faithful to God's call to love all people.
Chairing the United Methodist General Conference Committee on Human Sexuality and LGBTQ Inclusion
Leading a special artistic intergenerational activity for church visioning at First UMC of Pasadena
The annual 'Wow' youth conference for United Methodist youth from across Missouri, which I led throughout high school and that grew to over 2000 in attendance
Strategically creating the future of God's Church.
A constant in my ministry is offering myself for leadership when I feel the call of the Holy Spirit. I believe my life and my ministry is a bridge that spans to connect persons of different generations and cultures and to include all in God's church. At times this leadership is about sharing my story and how God is at work in my life and through my experiences (Witnessing in the public square of God's redeeming power).
Most of the time, however, it is about creating opportunities for others to share about how God is at work in their lives and to experience the unconditional love of God. These voices and perspectives form the mosaic that is the present and future of our shared ministry.
I first met Andrew Ponder Williams as he navigated the intricacies of serving the South Central Jurisdiction and the United Methodist Church in several leadership roles. As a dynamic, passionate and incredibly gifted young adult, Andrew brought so much to all the many facets of his leadership. He served as a delegate to Jurisdictional Conference and courageously made his voice heard as it echoed passion and love for God and God’s church. Andrew was a trusted leader in a denomination he loved yet the denomination did not fully embrace all that he was and all that he had to give. As a bishop, I very much wish that Andrew could be a United Methodist clergy person. He has many gifts that the world and the church needs today.
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
Bishop of the Texas Conference,
Two-Time Former President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops,
Former Director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)
Northland Youth United Leadership Team for the cooperative youth group I created for churches across Kansas City and its northern suburbs
Participating in the annual conference for Missouri United Methodists as a youth leader
Performing necessary and appropriate administrative tasks.
Have Served Multiple Congregations as a Church Administrator
Christ Church by the Sea (UMC) of Newport Beach, CA (approx. 125 members)
University UMC of Irvine, California (approx. 500 members)
St. Matthew UMC of Mesa, Arizona (approx. 300 members)
Pastoral Experience Managing Staff and Church Administration
At United Community Church I collaborate with and supervise a staff of seven people who share their gifts through administration, music, technology, cleaning, maintenance and food service. As the Pastor I also oversee our 15 unit affordable housing program, our twice weekly community meal site, preservation of our historic edifice, and the refresh of our spaces.
When I was 17, I was elected to serve as the Rules Committee Chairperson for the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. I oversaw the property of the region, provided institutional oversight, managed the election of the Bishops for the region, and had the outstanding joy of being a part of the ministry of Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso. I served in this formative and challenging capacity for eight years. While in high school I also served as the President of our regional youth council and programs.
My commute to and from Christ Church by the Sea in Newport Beach
Speaking at the 2012 South Central
Working collaboratively with intercultural awareness and sensitivity.
Helping University UMC of Irvine host youth visiting from Japan
Visiting the students of Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso which serves students that cross the border from Juarez every day
Encouraging leadership development of self and others through continuing education
and lifelong learning.
Served as a Church Consultant for Growth, Visioning, Communications, Stewardship, Faith Formation, Outreach, Facility Planning, Sustainability, and Leadership Development
Pioneer Ocean View UCC of San Diego (approx. 200 members)
First Congregational Church (UCC) of Long Beach, CA (approx. 650 members)
Community Church (UCC) of Corona Del Mar, CA (approx. 250 members)
First United Methodist Church of Pasadena, CA (approx. 900 members)
Christ Church by the Sea (UMC) of Newport Beach, CA (approx. 125 members)
First United Methodist Church of Lompoc, CA (approx. 150 members)
Have written multiple articles about church growth and leadership for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership in Washington, D.C. (churchleadership.com/author/andrew-ponder-williams/).
Have mentored youth and college ministry leaders and guided them in conversations regarding their call, their gifts, and their purpose while also supporting their leadership and vision for our shared ministries.
I continue to pursue opportunities to grow as a Pastor through advanced academic study. I am currently working towards a Doctorate in Ministry focused on religious leadership. I am happy to put extra energy and thought into my continuing education because it is extremely formative and uplifting. I am also thankful to continue to learn through my day-to-day ministry while also pursuing additional formal study.
Through Community Leadership
I am passionate about being involved in the community as an individual person beyond the walls of the church. I have been active with political causes I am passionate about because of my faith. I have also been an active leader in the academic communities I have been a part of. When I was a Senior at Rockhurst University I helped organize Family & Alumni Weekend. In Vermont I am the President of the Board of Northeast Kingdom Community Action which serves educational, housing, nutrition, and other needs for the northeast section of the state. I also serve on the Substance Abuse Prevention Taskforce, which is a collaboration of the Vermont Health Department, our local hospitals, addiction recovery centers, and other nonprofits.
Pioneer Ocean View UCC in San Diego
First Congregational Church
of Long Beach
First United Methodist Church of Pasadena
Rev. Joy Price who is one of my mentors
Some of my former UCI students for whom I created a non-profit internship program
Family and Alumni Weekend at Rockhurst University-I am very excited about the desert kabobs
The first time I met Andrew Ponders Williams was in the context of one of the most conflicted legislative committees (Church & Society) of the United Methodist General Conference. During that meeting, Andrew stood out not only for his youthfulness at a meeting where the average age is 60 years old, but also for his organized, strategic, and knowledgeable leadership. In the fullest sense, Andrew embodied “grace under fire” as he sought to forge agreements on issues of human sexuality. Following this introduction, I also served together with Andrew on the United Methodist General Board of Church of Society, where I learned even more about his personal and professional commitments and again saw his leadership in action as he helped us imagine a church that was in closer alignment with God’s community of justice, equity, and inclusion. I’m so grateful that Andrew has found a path to fulfilling his call to ministry and pray God’s blessing on both he and his spouse as they continue to witness to the power of God’s love and redemption.
Former Assistant Professor of UM Studies, Ethics, and Leadership
Interim Vice President and Dean at Pacific School of Religion