Ever since his childhood in Houston, the Rev. Junius Dotson says, “being a part of a growing, vital church has been a part of my DNA.”
Now Dotson – senior pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita for the past 14 years – will be transferring those skills and passions to the worldwide level.
The 50-year-old has been elected as the new general secretary, the chief executive position, with Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. He will begin his new position July 1, replacing interim general secretary MaryJane Pierce Nolan.
“I’m very, very passionate about the ministry of discipleship,” Dotson said Sunday afternoon, after making the announcement to his Saint Mark congregation.
A former member of the Board of Disciples, Dotson founded Genesis United Methodist Church in California’s Silicon Valley in 1996, and saw it grow to 500 members. In Wichita, he helped increase the membership at Saint Mark from 2,500 to its current 3,500.
“Through the years it’s been a passion for me,” Dotson said of growing churches. “The thought of actually being able to lead the agency into a bright future is really, really was appealing to me.”
Dotson was elected last week at the Discipleship Ministries Board of Directors meeting in Overland Park, Kansas.
“Junius Dotson knows how to lead people inside the church to introduce people outside the church to Jesus and invite them into Christian discipleship,” Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky of the Mountain Sky episcopal area, who is president of the Discipleship Ministries board of directors, said in a news release.
“Working with board and staff, we believe Rev. Dotson can focus the church on three missional fronts: strengthening partnerships in our increasingly global church, improving the effective ongoing ministries in our churches, engaging the growing number of “spiritual but not religious” people in the United States,” she added.
In his new position, Dotson will be the chief executive for Discipleship Ministries, will serve on the Connectional Table and will work with central conferences.
Dotson, married and the father of two children, said it was a difficult decision to leave Saint Mark, Wichita and the Great Plains Conference.
“As I told my congregation this morning, the hardest thing to choose from is two great things,” he said. “I feel like this is the place where God would have me be right now.”
Dotson said some of the challenges he sees ahead for Discipleship Ministries includes improving the disciple-making systems of local churches, using emerging technology to help reach potential church members and reaching out into the communities United Methodist churches serve.
“If we’re truly focused on disciples, making disciples, it’s all about sharing our faith beyond these four walls,” he said. “We need to be intentional about our conversations with people, especially those who consider the church to be irrelevant.”