“Soul Talk” is a mostly weekly Biblical reflection written by Harlan Gillespie (pictured on the right). He serves as the Conference Superintendent of the North Central District of the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Soul Talk is one of his ways of fulfilling the role of a superintendent as a spiritual leader to “extend the witness of Christ into the world” (The Book of Discipline, p. 333).
He and his seven colleagues serve as an extension of the office of bishop (center of the photo) to oversee the total ministry of local churches in their communities. Each superintendent is assigned responsibilities primarily in one of the eight districts of the Iowa Conference. As the chief missional strategist in their district, the duties of superintendents include presiding at charge conferences in the fall and caring for pastoral appointments in preparation for the beginning of each conference year on or about July 1st.
Superintendents serve with two other staff members on each district team, a Field Outreach Minister and an Administrative Assistant. The total investment in 2016 related to these district ministry teams is $3.1 million, which represents about 25% of conference apportionments contributed by the local churches of Iowa.