The Forward to a New Spring Initiative Continues to Bring Changes & New Opportunities
Feb. 2, 2021
When the Forward to a New Spring plan was officially adopted by the 2020 Annual Conference, the wheels of change related to the structure of the conference were put into motion. On Monday, Feb. 1, one of those changes became official as Dr. Lisa Neslony and Rev. Brad Brittain officially moved into their appointments as the senior
pastor of St. John the Apostle
and St. Barnabas
UMCs respectively. Brad and Lisa’s move off the cabinet and back into local church ministry serves to reduce the number of District Superintendents from six to four as prescribed in Forward to a New Spring
While the Central Texas Conference is still made up of six districts – five geographic (Central, East, North, South, West) and the New Church Start District – Forward to a New Spring established three District Areas
, which are supported by District Discipleship teams lead by the three remaining District Superintendents (East
– Dr. Randy Wild; North
– Rev. Louis Carr; South
– Dr. Leah Hidde-Gregory. Rev. Mike Ramsdell remains as the DS of the New Church Start District
.) “This new way of envisioning our conference and Cabinet structure is yet another step in our long-standing mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” stated Bishop Lowry. “The District Discipleship teams will be able to directly support our churches as needed in our Wildly Important Goal of making disciples.”
“While I will miss Lisa and Brad’s energy, insights, wisdom and camaraderie on the Cabinet, I am very happy for the congregations of and communities around St. John the Apostle and St. Barnabas,” Bishop Lowry continued. “Lisa and Brad will be great assets to these churches as they start looking and working towards emerging from COVID-19 and reimaging new ways to engage their communities and make disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Dr. Lisa Neslony
Before joining the Cabinet as the District Superintendent of the West District in July 2016, Dr. Lisa Neslony served as pastor of Smithfield UMC
, Morton Chapel
and De Leon UMC
, where she developed several exciting and ground-breaking ministries. She went to the West District with “a deep affinity for the churches and culture of the West District” – a feeling that did nothing but blossom and grow during her tenure as DS.
“It’s been my privilege to serve as the West District Superintendent these past four and a half years. Their commitment to our mission of making disciples is strong and their drive to serve as the hands and feet of Christ is humbling,” said Lisa. “Together, the clergy and laity of the district raised the funds to dig a water well in Kenya that supplies fresh water to thousands of people. They’ve also built several houses for families affected by HIV/AIDS, worked closely with the professionals at Maua Methodist Hospital
and seen firsthand the struggles and joys of the UMC in post-Communist Latvia — all this in addition to leading a variety of ministries at home. As our motto goes: West is best, and we are blessed! I will miss the wonderful people I’ve gotten to do ministry with.”
Rev. Dr. Lisa L. Neslony (AKA Pastor Lisa) received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and education from Baylor University in 1981 and worked for 13 years as a reporter and editor at the Waco Tribune-Herald
and the Fort Worth Star Telegram
. Lisa earned a Master of Divinity degree from Brite Divinity School
in 1996 and was ordained an Elder in the Central Texas Conference in 1999.
Rev. Brad Brittain
When Brad joined the Cabinet as the South District Superintendent on July 1, 2016, he had spent most of his ministry in the CTC’s Central District. Beyond the chance of working with churches in new district – especially one that boasted a high number of new congregations, growing congregations and a significant number of small town and rural congregations - one of the things to which he was really looking forward was “getting to know the pastors and churches in the South District, because ministry is about relationships and it’s important to develop those relationships with one another throughout the district. I believe we can all learn from one another and support each other as we move forward as a church.” A goal Brad believes was well achieved and something that he is going to miss.
“I am grateful to Bishop Lowry for the opportunity to have served on the Cabinet, and especially enjoyed building new relationships with so many pastors and laity in the South District,” remarked Brad. “I wish all of them well and pray the relationships and partnerships will continue going forward. However, I am excited about this new opportunity to serve along with the wonderful people at St. Barnabas UMC as we actively pursue our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and serving the community of Arlington.”
Brad answered his call to ministry in 1998 and enrolled in Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth (Master of Divinity 2001) and has served in the CTC since April of 2000. Besides Brad’s local church and Cabinet appointments, he has also served the conference in various other leadership capacities, such as the Commission on Church Growth and Development, Mission Leadership Team, Evangelism Task Force, Board of Ordained Ministry and as an HCI consultant/coach. Born in Baton Rouge, LA, Brad grew up in the DFW area in a family that was very active in various church communities. His father was a chaplain at Buckner Children’s Home in Dallas and later became a United Methodist pastor in the Central Texas Conference. He and his wife Alisha have two boys, and the family enjoys sports, the outdoors, exercise, church activities, travel and spending time with friends.
Please join Bishop Lowry, the Cabinet and the conference and district staff in thanking Lisa and Brad for their service and dedication to our mission these last four and a half years and praying for their new appointments and ministries.