The Rev. Mike McKee, senior minister of First United Methodist Church in Hurst, Texas, has been elected as a United Methodist bishop by delegates at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. He is the first bishop to be elected out of the Central Texas Annual (regional) Conference.
McKee, 60, was elected Friday, July 20, at the jurisdiction’s quadrennial meeting in downtown Oklahoma City. On the 23rd ballot, he received 186 of 256 votes cast.
“I have a great deal of hope for The United Methodist Church just because of the kind of conversations that are happening in the church are very, very rich in terms of our future,” he said. “People are discerning what God wants us to really be about. So that’s exciting for us.”
McKee was the third bishop elected by the 256 delegates, an equal number of United Methodist clergy and laity, from the eight states that form the South Central Jurisdiction. The assignments of bishops in the South Central Jurisdiction for the next four years will be announced later in the week. His four-year term of service begins Sept. 1.
McKee, nominated by the Central Texas Conference, currently serves as chair of the conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry and chair of long-range planning for the Texas Methodist Foundation. He has served as a delegate to the 2008 and 2012 General Conferences, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, and is a delegate to the 2012 South Central Jurisdiction.
“At General Conference, we began to talk about accountability of clergy, and I think we should also talk about the accountability of a congregation because they really are the stewards of our ministry and our Wesleyan presence, the United Methodist presence in a community,” he said. “So clergy need to be accountable, laity and congregations need to be accountable and I think bishops need to be accountable because our accountability becomes a way to drive our own growth.”
His previous appointments include experience as an associate pastor of Richland Hills United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth. He also served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Joshua and Meadowbrook United Methodist Church in Fort Worth before being appointed to the Hurst congregation in 1997.
He received a Founders Award from Trinity Area Habitat for Humanity in 2007, and the Bishop’s Award in Preaching from the Central Texas Conference in 2010. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology in Dallas.
A consecration service for the three new bishops will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 21, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. The ceremony can be watched live at the South Central Jurisdiction’s website.
Within the United States, local United Methodist churches are organized into increasingly larger groups: numerous districts, dozens of annual conferences and five jurisdictions (regions). Ten active bishops now lead the annual conferences that form the South Central Jurisdiction.
A United Methodist bishop in the United States is elected for life. Typically, a bishop will serve in a specific annual conference for eight years. The United Methodist Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book, directs each bishop to “guard the faith, order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline of the Church” and to “lead all persons entrusted to their oversight in worship, in the celebration of the sacraments, and in their mission of witness and service in the world.” Bishops also are to be “prophetic voices and courageous leaders in the cause of justice for all people.”
The states represented in this jurisdiction are: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.