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The UM clergy Book of Firsts

A new book from the Board of Higher Education and Ministry helps clergy navigate the early days of ministry.

The Publishing Office of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), leadership development agency for the denomination, announced the release of a new book, “The United Methodist Clergy Book of Firsts” by F. Belton Joyner, Jr. Written especially for licensing school and Course of Study students, this book helps pastors navigate the early days of their ministry.

Featuring topics from first appointments, first sermons, and funeral fees to family pets at the parsonage, Joyner dives into opportunities and challenges pastors face as they grow and mature as clergy.

Joyner teaches courses in Methodist history and Wesleyan Theology at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Some of his more popular books include “Being United Methodist in the Bible Belt” and “The Unofficial Handbook for United Methodist Pastors.”

“I had the honor of being a student of F. Belton Joyner for several classes during Course of Study at Duke Divinity School,” said Sue Anne Morris, pastor of First Eden Spray United Methodist Church in Eden, North Carolina and chair of local pastors and associate members for the Western North Carolina Conference. “Belton is a fountain of knowledge with a mix of quick wit and humor. He has a heart for pastors, especially those just beginning their journey in ministry.  I am forever grateful for Belton’s love of God, the church, and pastors.”

“Belton Joyner has once again blessed us with a gift of God’s “practical divinity,” said Leonard E. Fairley, resident bishop in the Louisville Episcopal Area. “I hope and pray that this treasure of wisdom will find its way into the hands of anyone with the audacity to answer the call of God to serve as a United Methodist pastor. Whatever your status in the annual conference, here is both practical and spiritual wisdom that I highly recommend for both laity and clergy. I have just one question, where was this when I started my ministry as a local pastor?”

Published by Wesley’s Foundery Books, an imprint of GBHEM, “The United Methodist Clergy Book of Firsts” is available at and