Jo Warren understands the link between motivating people and leadership.
As the age-level and family services coordinator for Newton Grove United Methodist Church, she is responsible for planning events. When she took this responsibility on, she quickly realized that when these events were planned people who were new to her church were not included. She worried that this would hinder her church’s growth, and decided to call those who were new and ask them if they would be willing to think about taking something on.
“All you had to do was ask and they were tickled to death,” said Jo, who offered to help them or give them resources without looking over their shoulders. “I feel that you get people motivated if you let them have responsibility. You will motivate them to give more and do better every time.”
This is just one example of what Jo says she has learned while participating in the Academy for Leadership Excellence Leadership Fellows Program.
Prior to her retirement, Jo worked at N.C. State University for 34 years, the last 20 years as the assistant to the Dean for Business and Finance in the College of Textiles. At Newton Grove UMC, she has taught the senior adults Sunday school class for over 45 years, served on the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee for 3 years including one year as chairwoman and, as previously mentioned, is currently the age-level and family services coordinator. She also served on the Board of Trustees of the Fayetteville District.
She feels that the lessons she has learned as part of the Fellows program not only applies to her service at her church on both local and district levels, but also relates to what she did prior to retirement.
“It was a reminder to me as to how to deal with people,” said Jo. “I had done that for 34 years and I used it every day, but once you retire…you get rusty on those sorts of things. You really need that refresher course in how to motivate people.”
Not only does she believe that it is beneficial to laity both in their service to the church and in their careers, but it also supplements what pastors learned in seminary and helps them to be better leaders in their churches.
“Ministers aren’t exposed to management and finance and seeing who needs what kind of motivation, which is important in the church because everyone is a volunteer.”
Jo is going through this two-year program alongside her pastor, as well as 16 other pastors and lay people. Because Jo and her pastor are participating in this program together, they are able to process what they have learned and bring it back to Newton Grove UMC.
“It has been helpful to both of us to discuss the sessions before we leave Raleigh, or to follow up one day at lunch and see what we can implement,” said Jo.
Jo said that she has been very impressed with the program and thinks it is something that is badly needed for both younger and older ministers alike.
When asked what she’d say to someone considering applying to be a fellow, Jo responded, “I think if they want to really help the church grow and to make leaders for the future then this is an excellent program for getting that.”