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Honest to Greatness – Part 1: Rev. Dr. Stephen C. Hundley, Executive Director of Connectional Ministries

authenticityPulling the cap off of the marker, Rev. Dr. Stephen C. Hundley looked up from his hand at the Connectional Ministries staff huddled in a small conference room and asked, “How are we going to do this?”

Next to him was a blank “post-it” posterboard and the goal was to come up with a covenant of how the Connectional Ministries staff would serve the Conference and each other. By the end of the day, the posterboard would have on it words such as, “integrity, truth in love, fun, and excellence.” It became a great beginning to a new chapter in the life of the California-Pacific Conference, solidifying the commitment of the staff to effective conference leadership.

Rev. Dr. Hundley is the Executive Director of Connectional Ministries. Officially, he is the chief steward of the vision of the annual conference, reporting to the Bishop, whose responsibility is to resource the local churches of the annual conference to health and growth, working together with all Essential Ministries Teams and leading and supervising the Connectional Ministries staff.

Unofficially, he is the guitar-playing, Mustang-driving Virginian who has pastored in the local church for 24 years and served as a District Superintendent for 8 years. From rural, to town, to downtown and to suburban, he has embraced all different kinds of people. “You would not believe how effective committed, broken people could be,” he says.

Rev. Dr. Hundley (center) with wife Becky Hundley (left) and Rev. Sandie Richards of First UMC Los Angeles (right) at the United Methodist Museum of Social Justice Gala.
Rev. Dr. Hundley (center) with wife Becky Hundley (left) and Rev. Sandie Richards of First UMC Los Angeles (right) at the 2013 United Methodist Museum of Social Justice Gala

Rev. Dr. Hundley is a member of the General Council on Finance and Administration. Every once in a while, he will be in his office wearing a phone headset on a conference call on Council matters. His experience has led him to appreciate the value of financial transparency and efficiency because of how such honesty helps focus resources into areas of health in the church. Thus, he has asked the Cal-Pac Navigation EMT to take an earlier look at the programming budget for successive years. “If funding is not getting to the places where we need it to be, then we are failing at being good stewards of what God has provided,” he says.

The Executive Director of Connectional Ministries has also been the primary staff person assigned to the Leadership EMT this year as there is currently no Director of Leadership. His first meeting with the Leadership EMT was about raising the difficult, but necessary, question: “Can the Leadership EMT make a difference in Cal-Pac or not?”

The meeting was impactful in shifting the conversation from being about what a committee cannot accomplish to what it can for the cause of Christ, as the Leadership EMT has increasingly focused on resourcing the local church in a variety of ways. Rev. John Shaver, Chair of the Leadership EMT says, “Rev. Dr. Hundley’s Christ-centered leadership is a gift to our EMT and the Cal-Pac Annual Conference. In a few short months, we have become excited about the possibilities of our Leadership EMT.”

When asked about his contact with the local churches of Cal-Pac, Rev. Dr. Hundley says, “I have had nowhere near the kind of deep relationship that I want with our leaders in the local church. It is not just about meeting people, but about praying with people and listening to each other. This is what I am looking to do because, without it, we will never be the church God wants.”

He and the Connectional Ministries staff will be leading workshops at the upcoming North District Training Day on January 25, 2014. His workshop will involve the work of local church trustees as well as matters of stewardship. For all those wondering what they should expect from his workshop, he says, “Real talk.”

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*Correction: Previous version stated “Stephen J. Hundley.”  The correct name is “Stephen C. Hundley.”