Guess who has a big announcement?

If you opened this because of the picture, there is no baby on the way! Our eldest is going off to college this year so there is no way I’m starting over. The big announcement is that I will be leaving the the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. This felt almost like as big of a decision as having another child. I had pictured myself retiring as Conference Treasurer after 40 years. I guess it’ll only be 14 years. Doreen Gosmire wrote up a really nice article to mark this transition.

I’ve accepted a full-time teaching position at Dakota Wesleyan University. I’ll be teaching accounting. I look forward to preparing a generation of graph masters and spreadsheet gurus to go out into the world. In the video, I talk about how this change in jobs will affect the different groups of people that have come to rely on me for entertainment and information. In this post, I want to list what I will miss most and least from my time with the Dakotas UMC.

Top 8 Things I’ll Miss Most

  1. My Co-workers: I work with some really great people that work hard and love the church. We’ve had a lot of fun and success over the years. I’m sure my new co-workers will be great too, but….
  2. Helping Churches: When I first started preaching, I could get to know the great people in our churches which helped me understand better how to help them. I have enjoyed this so much that it led to the launch of this blog and related YouTube channel.
  3. Committee Work: I’m kind of a grumbler when it comes to meetings, but when I look back, most of “my” greatest accomplishments have been the work of committees. When I filled in my resume, I disclosed that I was part of efforts to change apportionments or retiree health or whatever.
  4. Presenting at Annual Conference: I have a lot of fond memories of giving the budget presentation at Annual Conference. It was always enjoyable…especially sharing some of my favorite graphs. I’m not sure college students will enjoy my graphs as much.
  5. National Association of Annual Conference Treasurers: This is my fellow conference treasurers spread across the nation. I usually only saw them once or twice per year at best, but would connect through email almost daily. This group gave me a lot of hope, encouragement, ideas, and laughs through the years.
  6. Working with Pastors: At first working with pastors drove me nuts. Most of them don’t seem to understand math…except for Rebecca Trefz. Most of them don’t have things nearly as well figured out as I had imagined. Once I accepted this and saw where I might be able to help them, I really look for to working with them and having them reach out to me.
  7. My Office: I really enjoy creating my workspace. It took me over a decade to feel like I got my office exactly the way I want it with a couch, recliner, tread desk, etc. I’ll miss my office/living room.
  8. Accounting for Jesus: No matter who an accountant works for, debits are on the left and credits are on the right. But there is a difference when you are able to fully integrate and freely express your faith at your job. It’ll be a big change in mindset to know that I should no longer assume the people I’ll serve are going to share my faith.

Top 5 Things I’ll Miss Least

  1. Shoveling: Last week it was -10° outside, and I had to shovel the sidewalks at work. I’m not going to miss that at all.
  2. Closing Churches: Not only is it sad to see a church close, it’s usually a lot of work to liquidate the property with little financial reward.
  3. Managing a Building: Admittedly I have co-workers that take care of most of this for me, but it’s kind of stressful and distracting when there are issues with the building.
  4. The Book of Discipline: While there is a lot of wisdom in the Book of Discipline, there’s also a lot of…junk. It feels like much of the last 14 years has been trying to figure out how to do the right thing without blatantly violating the Book of Discipline.
  5. Church Politics: When I changed from working at the State of North Dakota to the Dakotas UMC, I used to joke that the biggest change was the politics. The UMC is much more political. I will not miss General Conference and the occasional political dustup at Annual Conference.

  4 comments for “Guess who has a big announcement?

  1. Jennifer
    March 1, 2022 at 8:22 am

    Congratulations Jeff! You’ll make an excellent professor

    • March 1, 2022 at 8:49 am

      Thanks, Jennifer! I’m looking forward to the challenge.

  2. Randy Koppen
    March 1, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    Jeff- thank you for your excellent ministry and sharing your wisdom across Conferences. I appreciate your “10 Minute Treasurer” segments. (Like a pastor, it is a rare occasion it is just 10 minutes- but always worth the extra content.)

    • March 1, 2022 at 1:19 pm

      Thanks, Randy! There’s always more to say than time to tell it!

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