Human Resources Next Steps | Ministry Associates Hired

The Human Resources (HR) Committee has taken next steps to fulfill the work outlined by the Plan of Union for the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference adopted by the legacy annual conferences in June.

The committee is continuing to align positions and responsibilities to support the new TWK ministry structure using these values as part of the discernment process:

  1. A staff that supports rather than directs volunteer leaders and teams is essential to decentralize the ministry of the conference and keep funding in the local church. 
  2. A staff structure that promotes a culture of collaboration and works against siloed strategies is necessary to promote team ministry. 

The HR Committee conducted an interview process that included laity, clergy, HR team members, strategy team leaders, and hiring managers. That process of discernment led them to hire Izzie Zimmerman as Ministry Associate-Discover & Send/Connect, and Rev. Jefferson Furtado as Ministry Associate-Equip. Both begin their positions on October 1, 2021.  

Elizabeth “Izzie” Zimmerman

Ministry Associate-Discover & Send/Connect

Izzie Zimmerman

Izzie received an undergraduate degree in theology from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. She grew up in a multiethnic family, primarily in small-town America. This made the cross-cultural experiences of living and studying in Korea a unique time that continues to impact her leadership and lend to learning opportunities.

Since joining a United Methodist congregation in Missouri during her high school years, Izzie has served in a variety of ministry settings including youth ministry, college ministry, church planting, ministry consultation, and district and conference ministry. She also has been a lay member to annual conference in the Missouri Conference, Mississippi Conference, and recently the Tennessee Conference. 

Izzie is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). She is passionate about the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion as our new conference expands upon the anti-racism work already happening. As the church changes and transforms, she believes God is leading us toward the church of the future. In her prior work, Izzie has shown the technical skills, high-quality execution, and ability to lead strategic processes that will be vital as she supports the strategies of the Connect and Discover & Send strategy teams.

Izzie is married to Rev. Abe Zimmerman who currently serves as pastor of Hartsville and Chapel Hill UMCs.  The Zimmermans are parents to Nehemiah, their 19-month-old son.

Rev. Jefferson M. Furtado

Ministry Associate-Equip

Rev. Jefferson Furtado

Jefferson is a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He began his journey in the United States in Holly Springs, Mississippi, graduating from Rust College, a historically black liberal arts college and one of our United Methodist higher education institutions. He later received a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Church Renewal from United Theological Seminary. He also holds a post-graduate certificate in Homiletical Peer-Coaching through Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Jefferson is passionate about the life of faith and the work of the church. In particular, he feels called to the work of equipping individuals who respond to God’s gracious invitation of love. He believes that nothing is more worthwhile than the work of equipping individuals for their calling, connecting them with partners for the journey, and creating environments where they grow to become the people God has created them to be.

An ordained elder in full connection, Jefferson brings a diverse work experience having served in local congregations, a United Methodist general agency, a corporate setting, and an institution of higher education. He also has had extensive involvement and years of service participating in local, district, conference, and general church boards, leadership teams, and cohorts. Over the past two years, Jefferson served with the Guide Team of our new Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference.

Jefferson is married to Linda Louise Furtado who is currently a seminary student and serves as pastor of Beech Grove UMC in Nashville. The Furtados are parents to three amazing daughters Sueli (14), Cintia (12), and Emma (7).

More About the Positions

Both Ministry Associates will work to support the ministry of the respective strategy teams and be supervised by Rev. Melinda Young Britt, Connectional Ministries Officer.

Jefferson will be working with the Equip Strategy Team, led by Bethany Huffman. Together they will steward a cohesive strategy of leadership development for the Board of Laity, the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Board of Higher Ed and Campus Ministry, the camping ministry, age-level ministry, Safe Spaces, and other committees associated with the Equip Strategy. 

Izzie will be working with the Discover/Send Strategy Team led by Rev. Toi King and the Connect Strategy Team led by Rebecca Little. Together they will foster a collaborative, unified strategy of discovering and sending committed disciples of Jesus Christ through diverse ministry settings and local congregations and will connect them to resources that build a culture of effectiveness. The vision is that local congregations of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky conference will directly benefit from the intentional focus on these strategies and that Christ will be offered to our hurting world one neighborhood at a time.