Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and the Cabinet of the Great Plains Conference announced Friday, Feb. 16, that the Rev. Dr. Bruce Emmert will be reappointed from his role as Kansas City District superintendent to serve as lead pastor at St. Andrew's United Methodist Church in Omaha, effective July 1.
St. Andrew's UMC has been led for 13 years by the Rev. Bruce Davis, who is retiring at the end of the appointive year on June 30.
Bishop Saenz said Emmert’s background serving large churches and his experience on the cabinet have prepared him for this new role with one of the conference’s largest congregations.
“Bruce actively listens to people and inspires the church to grow deeper in discipleship, witness, and service,” the bishop said. “He has the gift to foresee future trends and opportunities, and then offer creative and adaptive solutions and leadership for the church’s witness and viability in the midst of change and uncertainty.”
St. Andrew's UMC is one of the flagship churches of the Great Plains Conference, Bishop Saenz said, citing the church’s congregation of more than 1,000 people, its position in a high-growth area of Omaha and the missionally strategic location in eastern Nebraska.
Emmert called his three years on the Cabinet “a blessing, honor and joy.” But he also looks forward to working in ministry with the St. Andrew's congregation.
“I will always be grateful to Bishop Scott Jones for appointing me to the Cabinet, and I will count having worked alongside Bishop Saenz and my Cabinet colleagues as one of the highlights of my ministry,” Emmert said. “The Kansas City District is wonderfully diverse, and our pastors are devoted disciples who seek God’s best for our churches. It is hard to think of leaving.
“And yet, God’s call on my life is to an itinerant United Methodist ministry,” Emmert continued. “I joyfully receive Bishop Saenz’ discernment to now serve as senior pastor of St. Andrew’s UMC in Omaha, and I will enthusiastically pour all the gifts and graces that God has given me into the work.”
The bishop said Emmert would be the best fit for St. Andrew's. Bishop Saenz praised Davis’ leadership and ministry while also complementing the dedicated disciples serving in the mission field.
“The congregation is blessed with a strong and gifted staff and dedicated Christ-centered laypersons that serve as the foundation upon which current and future generations can be shaped into disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” Bishop Saenz said. “Their facilities are fabulous for ministry, and they serve as a home base of service and mission for the community and beyond.”