In June, Treasurer John Tate informed Bishop James Swanson and the Personnel Resources Committee that he would resign effective Dec. 31.
The Personnel Resources Committee expresses its appreciation for Tate's dedicated service and commitment to Holston Conference. A search committee for his successor has been formed and letters of inquiry for the position of Treasurer may be submitted to the attention of: "Treasurer Search Committee," Holston Conference, P.O. Box 850, Alcoa, TN 37701-0850.
The Call recently spoke to Tate, age 40, a member at Fairview United Methodist Church in Maryville, about his plans.
The Call: Why are you leaving your position?
Tate: I am starting a business that will help people invest in the things that matter. My work will include helping others reach their full potential financially by offering retirement management services, financial planning, debt management, business consulting, and other services that utilize the financial skills I've developed the past 18 years. It has always been my dream to operate my own business, and this is my opportunity. In my endeavor, I'll also be working with Patriot Investments of Knoxville to offer investment services.
A cornerstone of my business will be to help pastors and churches. One of the glaring realities I've seen since I came on staff here in December 2006 is that pastors and churches need to manage their money more effectively
The Call: What's the name of your company?
Tate: Hope Financial Services. Hope is my wife's middle name. I also just like the message that even if you've made poor choices or mistakes in the past, you can turn that around and have hope for a better future. My sister Laura, who's a member at Munsey Memorial, designed my logo.
The Call: When do you start?
Tate: I've started already on a part-time basis. I announced my plans to my staff and the conference leadership on June 18. On June 22, I started taking off every other Friday, using vacation days. Since my announcement I've been studying for my licensing exam, which I just passed. I've also been working to generate future clients and making plans to leave the conference staff by Dec. 31.
I plan to assist in the transition by working less each month as the conference works toward finding my replacement. I hope to be a resource for Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor [who begins Sept. 1 as resident bishop] and the new treasurer to assist them in their roles. I'm working twice as hard to get everything squared away before I leave. I told my staff that my goal is to finish well.
The Call: What's the best and worse part about leaving the conference staff?
Tate: The worst part will be leaving some of the projects we have started together as the Holston Conference. I will also miss the staff members, committee members, and dedicated pastors and volunteer servants that I've had the pleasure of knowing.
The best part has been the tremendous support and affirmation from people throughout the conference who have heard that I am leaving. I've had so many pastors, friends, family members, and others indicate their desire to work with me in my new role. I've also been blessed with a spouse who is supportive of my dreams and willing to take this next step with me.
The Call: You've got four children, and this really is a step of faith. How are you coping?
Tate: As my wife Kelly and I prayed through this decision, a friend quoted Revelation 3:8, which has become my refuge during this time of uncertainty:
Whatever he opens, no one will shut; and whatever he shuts no one opens. I know your works. Look! I have set in front of you an open door that no one can shut.
We believe God has prepared us for this moment. I have had some wonderful opportunities and experiences that prepared me to be successful in this field. My parents blessed me with a tremendous education at the University of Tennessee and University of South Carolina. Thus far in my career, I have had the opportunity to manage a 42-member staff and $135 million budget, oversee a $10 million health insurance plan, and participate in unique ministry opportunities. My plans are to continue to be in financial ministry in a slightly different role.
I hope to help people, especially pastors and churches, fulfill God's plan for their finances. If I can help someone do that, then I will be a success.