Ernest F. Furness, Director Janelle Muthiah, Secretary

Ernest F. Furness, Director
Janelle Muthiah, Secretary

Purpose Statement

I’ve often been asked, “What is a ministerial director and what are your responsibilities?” The best answer I know is to tell those asking that I am the pastor’s pastor. I do most everything pastors do for their congregations except preach to them. The ministerial department provides resources, spiritual guidance and encouragement for those who serve a pastoral role with Southeastern California Conference’s congregations. Currently there are more than 200 budgets allotted for pastors serving over 170 congregations. The ministerial department has the responsibility of assisting all pastors who work with SECC’s congregations.

Pastors come to ministry from two perspectives. Pastors are called and for them ministry for them is a vocation. It is what they must do for God. Ministry is also a profession that requires a certain body of knowledge for a pastor to serve. Both elements must be in place for a pastor to truly serve a congregation. The ministerial director has the responsibility to encourage a pastor’s personal growth for the pastor in both of these areas. This is accomplished by the use of the following programs and processes:

  • Encourage pastors in focusing on areas of personal spiritual development through the Journey and making Pine Springs Ranch available for personal retreats.
  • Providing for periodic sabbaticals that allow time for reflection and renewal
  • Use the anonymous counseling process which, among other things, can provide pastors with the opportunity to gain clarification about their call to ministry.
  • Support a pastor’s continuing education by funding programs which can provide information and skills that will benefit profession growth.
  • Pastors who have not yet completed their graduate training are encouraged to participate in a graduate degree completion process.
  • Support and direct those pastors approved by the executive committee as they pursue and complete a Doctor of Ministry degree.

Just like the pastor in any church, the conference ministerial director spends a lot of time in meetings. These meetings include the following:

  • Chair the Pastoral Advisory which meets periodically with a representative group of SECC pastors to consider and discuss the needs of clergy and their roles with congregations.
  • Serve as a voting member of the Administrative Council and the Personal Committee where the interests and needs of pastors are represented.
  • The ministerial director is an invitee to the conference executive committee.
  • In addition, participates in a broad variety of ad hoc meetings, represents the conference at some church boards, participates in search committees, works with area pastor gatherings.
  • Serve on several North American Division committees that address the needs of pastors and their education processes.

Young pastors are provided with some special attention. From their calling to ministry at the time of their completion of the undergraduate degree, through graduate training and internship with a seasoned pastor, the ministerial director is a guide through this time. Eventually the church will recognize a pastor’s call to ministry and proceed to their ordination.

The ministerial office maintains a collection of resources available to pastors for use in their ministry. These resources include:

  • A library of books relating to ministry, biblical studies, theology, and Adventist beliefs and history.
  • A media collection of video and audio recordings that address various aspects of ministry.

The clergy spouse needs are met through the leadership of Anita Roberts with the assistance of Linda Penick. They provide encouragement and a listening ear for those serving SECC churches in this special role.

SECC’s women in ministry are supported by the leadership of Kendra Haloviak Valentine who serves as assistant to the president for women pastors. Valentine provides valuable support for those women who pastor SECC’s congregations.

Mario Perez assists ministerial by providing seminars and resources directed to assist local church elders in their work.

We are grateful for God’s gift of ministry. We affirm those God has called to serve SECC’s congregations. We trust that together we will clearly proclaim that Jesus is Lord.