God is doing great things through North Alabama’s ordination process. The entire probationary process has been changed. Commissioned probationers are now Residents in Ministry and the probationary process is now called Residence in Ministry (RIM). Mentors are trained coaches. Instead of seeming to be a series of hoops to negotiate, the group process will actually have purpose, meaning and consistency.

Each year of the residency process is now organized around a specific theme chosen for its practical application and usefulness in the professional development of new clergy. The first year of the residency process is built around workshops and seminars focused on ministerial identity. The focus in the second year of residency is ministerial leadership – all those skills pastors wish they had learned in seminary. The focus of the final year of residency is on integration and building a bridge that connects the experience of residency with the life of an ordained pastor.


North Alabama wants more effective clergy. We want our clergy to be more than just prepared and available for service. We want and need clergy who produce a deep, striking or vivid impression.

An example of pastors who are more effective is the recent urban/rural mission trip organized by two of our younger clergy. The youth of two different races and cultures (i.e. inner-city Birmingham and rural Appalachia) served together in each other’s neighborhoods. They not only did mission but grew in their understanding of “who is my neighbor” as well as made friends with some unlikely people. Go to
( to read the full and vivid story.


Why in the world would anyone want to come to North Alabama to serve as an ordained minister? Sure you get to serve under Bishop Willimon. But the best reason (sorry Bishop!) is because God is doing great things here!


If you have either read this far or skipped down to the last part of the blog, then you may wonder to whom Bishop Willimon would be willing to turn over his blog. Well, my name is Amelia Sims and I have been given the wonderful opportunity to be the director of this new RIM program. As an ordained elder, I have been through the process as well as the have authority and experience to make this the best RIM program that will positively impact the effectiveness of ministers, churches and Christians in North Alabama.

God is working in North Alabama. Impressive ministry is happening here. You may be intrigued or want to know more. Maybe you are struggling with a call to ministry. Perhaps you are in the midst of college or seminary and are unsure where God is calling you to serve. You may see your own gifts, graces and strengths as needing a place to thrive and become impressive. If you want to know more about God’s work in the most and least likely places in North Alabama, just drop me an email at

In Christ, Amelia Sims


  1. Amelia – Thanks for the post. As a probationary elder, I was quite interested in reading about the renewing of the process in N. Alabama. Thanks for sharing. How long did that process take to change to the current form?


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