By Paul Black
SPRINGFIELD – A veteran in leadership development within The United Methodist Church has been selected as the Illinois Great Rivers Conference’s Director of Ministerial Excellence.
The Rev. Dr. Jacqui King, an elder in the Texas Annual Conference, emerged as the top candidate from a nationwide search that yielded 13 applicants. She will begin her new responsibilities Sept. 16.
"Rev. Dr. Jacqui King brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the IGRC. I am happy to welcome her to our leadership team," said Bishop Frank J. Beard. "She has a very diverse background of experience within the Methodist family. Her hits and talents are many. Our pastors and our laity will benefit from her wide range of experiences across the church. Her passion and love for Jesus are contagious. She is a prayer warrior and an extraordinary preacher. Thank you all for welcoming and receiving her into the best conference in the Jurisdiction."
King, who most recently served Discipleship Ministries as its director of U.S. connectional relationships, believes bold leadership is a top priority for the church. She was also recently featured by U.M. News Service about her discovery of praying for strangers (see related article on UM News website)..
“Bold leadership is needed now to encourage relevant community engagement and outreach in every ministry setting,” King said. “As a coach, I focus on using contextual tools to help lay and clergy leaders to expand their processes for reaching and connecting people virtually through new faith experiences. Through deep listening, I encourage people to embrace their gifts! I never meet a stranger nor miss an opportunity to pray.”
The new position, Director of Clergy Excellence, which will work with the Cabinet, Directors and Board of Ministry to create a one-stop shop for clergy that would span the time between entry into the ordination/licensing process to retirement.
During her tenure at Discipleship Ministries, King developed collaborative partnerships between the agency and U.S. annual conference boards and leadership teams focused on building intentional discipleship systems and community engagement. As an extension minister, she served as a resource and relational leader who lives out her connectional calling through teaching, preaching, and encouraging all to discover their callings.
She served as a design team member/lead and agency representative for the annual conference training event for district superintendents and directors of connectional ministries; Route 122 Network, Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Black Clergywomen, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, United Methodist Immigration Task Force (UMITF), School of Congregational Development, and African American Methodist Heritage Center (AAMHC). She has taught in every U.S. jurisdiction for lay servant events, led webinars, district and conference workshops, coached for congregational visioning projects, and explored new ways to increase vitality by expanding community building practices of meeting needs, studying, serving others, and prayer-walking.
King became a pioneer for connecting technology and faith community building by launching an online faith experience in 2007. She is a trained Interim Ministry Specialist, a Professional Coach Training Graduate from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and Fund Development Specialist from The Fund Raising School.
Her advanced education includes both business and theological studies, with two master’s degrees: an MBA from Smeal College of Business at Penn State University and M.Div. from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. She completed doctoral studies from Drew University in 2012.
Dr. King is married to Donel King. She believes that education can create avenues for all to become empowered to live into their callings from the Lord.