The answer to the question, “what is a DEM,” is fairly simple. DEM is not the word in the chorus of Dry Bones, (dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones)! DEM stands for District Executive Minister. Now that is not to be confused with superintendents and bishops. What I believe I am called to do, as District Executive Minister does have oversight of the churches in a particular District, and my oversight is for the churches of Western Plains District (Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado). Oversight, as I understand that function, means to be the pastor for pastors, the consultant for congregations, the bridge between people, the servant for all, and the one who assists in taking a long and hopefully insightful and visionary look at the congregations that make up what has been recently and frequently called, “The Church of the Brethren in Western Plains.”
The heart yearning of the Western Plains District is that, despite the farflug geography in which we find ourselves, we will be community with one another. Our pioneer heritage is, in founding new towns, building new churches, and starting new farms, people knew they could not do these things alone. Just so, in looking to the future of the church in general and the Church of the Brethren in particular, we are seeking to be transformed, not alone, but with one another. The District Executive Minister, first and foremost, helps in keeping this vision alive and well and updated and made tangible by prayer, by words and actions, and by sharing Christ’s love with everyone.
On a practical level, the District Executive Minister (emphasis on “minister”) helps congregations that are looking for pastors, is part of the planning for District Conference and the Gathering and Pastor/Leader Training, functions for the Transformation Vision Team to carry our their wishes and directives, serves as an interpreter between denomination and district, offers ideas and support for the Vision Fulfillment Teams, carries out licensing and ordination services, installs new pastors, and, in this large District, shares some of this work with a group known as Area Ministers.
Area ministers are chosen as people who have experience and maturity to walk even more closely that the DEM with the congregations of Western Plains Church of the Brethren. Each one of them has had training in coaching and listening and they are in regular touch with pastors and people. They then share with the DEM and with one another the needs for prayers, the needs for specified help and training, the joys and accomplishments and visions of each of his or her assigned congregations.
Should you have questions regarding the work of the DEM, please feel free to call the numbers listed in the directory or on the Website. Also, feel free to call on your area ministers, who are able to be closer to each congregation. These are listed under this DEM heading.
All of us share the vision of Western Plains District: Rooted Together in Love to be Christ’s Transforming Hope and Power! AMEN