Superintendent’s Message

A conference superintendent in the Free Methodist Church oversees the spiritual and administrative aspects of the conference. They provide leadership, guidance, and support to local churches and pastors, ensuring the overall health and growth of the conference. Additionally, they work to uphold the church’s doctrine, promote church planting, and facilitate connections between congregations and the denomination’s broader mission and vision.

Rev. Jonathan Sato


Rev. Jonathan Sato was born and raised in the Free Methodist , his father a Free Methodist Minister in the Pacific Coast Japanese Conference (PCJC) who met his mother during a mission’s trip to Japan where his mother was serving as the local Free Methodist translator. Jonathan attended Azusa Pacific University for both his undergraduate and graduate (M.Div) degrees and it was there that he met his wife, Jenn. They are blessed to parent three wonderful daughters; Adeline, Charlotte, and Eleanor.

Free Methodist Church in Southern California,

As we reflect on the journey from Annual Conference 2023 to Annual Conference 2024, I’m filled with gratitude for the growth, challenges, and renewed commitment to our shared mission that we’ve experienced together. This past year has been a testament to God’s faithfulness and the dedicated work of our ministers and congregations.


Review of Last Year

General Conference 2023

General Conference 2023 was a pivotal moment for our denomination. This gathering of Free Methodists from around the globe gave us an opportunity to pray, discern, and make decisions that will shape our future. If you haven’t had the chance, please visit the General Conference website to explore the outcomes and the vision that emerged from this significant event.

We’re thrilled to welcome Bishop Kenny Martin as our new Bishop! With his depth of experience, wisdom, and passion for the Gospel, we anticipate that his leadership will be instrumental in guiding us through the challenges and opportunities ahead.


Strengthening Our Boards and Committees

Over the past year, we’ve prioritized utilizing our polity through our boards and committees. Under Pastor Colleen Hurley-Bates’ leadership, our Board of Administration (BOA) has reached new levels of effectiveness. As she transitions off the board, we express our deepest gratitude for her service and the indelible mark she’s left.

The Ministerial Education and Guidance (MEG) Board, under Pastor Kelly Roth’s direction, has also achieved new heights of unity and purpose. Leadership development remains a key focus for our conference, but we recognize that leadership extends beyond ordained individuals. Our denomination and ministries thrive under lay leadership, reflecting our foundational belief in the equality of all voices.

Kelly Roth and Kristy Hinds have been diligently working to clarify our ordination process. Their efforts will not only streamline the ordination journey but also enhance our overall approach to leadership development. We eagerly anticipate the positive impact of their work in the coming years.


Focusing on Pastoral Wholeness

Pastoral wholeness has been at the forefront of our priorities this past year. We firmly believe that healthy, thriving pastors are the cornerstone of vibrant, impactful churches. To support this, we’ve intentionally created spaces and opportunities for our pastors to connect, find support, and prioritize their well-being.

It’s been encouraging to witness the many ways our pastors have embraced this focus on wholeness. From engaging in counseling and therapy to taking much-needed vacations and sabbaticals, from setting healthy boundaries to prioritizing family time, we’ve seen a meaningful shift towards greater balance and sustainability in ministry. Although these steps may not always be quantifiable, we have no doubt that their impact will reverberate through the lives of our pastors and the congregations they serve.

We also celebrate the beautiful ways our pastors have come together to support and uplift one another. Our Field Superintendents work closely with lead pastors, fostering support. The Thrive mentorship program, under Doug Ranck’s leadership, pairs seasoned mentors with those discerning their call to pastoral ministry, providing guidance and encouragement. Through accountability groups, celebrating victories, and walking alongside each other in times of loss, the power of community and connection in sustaining our pastors for the long haul has been undeniable.


Navigating Transitions and Changes

As is natural in any journey, this year has brought its share of transitions and changes. A significant shift has been Pastor Mike Chong Perkinson’s departure, who has been elected as the Superintendent for The Pacific Coast Japanese Conference (PCJC). While his presence will be deeply missed, we wholeheartedly celebrate this new chapter in his ministry and the opportunity for him to serve the Kingdom in this capacity.

As we navigate this transition, we covet your prayers for the Ministerial Appointments Committee (MAC) and Lamb’s Fellowship. We have full confidence that the Lord will guide us in appointing a new pastor for this crucial ministry. In the interim, Soo Ji Alvarez will be serving as the Interim Director of Multiplication as we prayerfully assess our priorities and chart the course for multiplication efforts on the West Coast.

We also want to express our heartfelt gratitude for the incredible work of our Field Superintendents. While we’ll miss the conference-level contributions of Pastor Kevin Boyce and Pastor Colleen Hurley-Bates as they focus on their local ministries, we wholeheartedly affirm that local ministry should always be the top priority. In welcoming Pastor Cam Beyenberg as our new Field Superintendent, we’re honored to have him join our esteemed team alongside Pastors Kevin Robertson and Soo Ji Alvarez. Under Kristy Hinds’ leadership, this team has accomplished remarkable feats in fostering connections and nurturing relational growth among our pastors. We have every confidence that their efforts will yield a bountiful harvest in the years to come.


Looking Forward

As we move forward, our unwavering commitment is to ensure that our churches are vibrant embodiments of our core Free Methodist values and freedoms. It is in the local church where members and the wider community should encounter and connect with these life-giving principles that make the Free Methodist Church so unique. You, our frontline ministers, play a crucial role in championing and bringing these values to life in your specific contexts.

One of the things we’ve all heard from new members and incoming leaders is: “I was Free Methodist and I didn’t know it.” This powerful statement underscores the profound resonance between their personal faith journeys and the values we hold dear. They have found a home in the Free Methodist Church because they already identified with our emphasis on authentic worship, community justice, and the transformative power of the Gospel.

Our aim is to cultivate safe spaces where creativity and imagination can flourish through the Holy Spirit unhindered and where we can gather to support and encourage one another in our shared mission. It is our earnest hope that, by this time next year, we will have grown even more deeply committed to living out our Free Methodist values together – not merely as a conference, but as brothers and sisters in Christ united by a common heritage and purpose. This is why your incoming leaders have chosen to become part of the Free Methodist Church, and we must continually emphasize and embody these values.


Thank You

In closing, I want to express my profound gratitude to each and every one of you. It is the highest honor and privilege to serve alongside you in this glorious work of the Gospel. Your faithfulness, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to Christ and His Kingdom are an ongoing source of inspiration.


With deepest gratitude and unwavering hope,

Jonathan Sato
Free Methodist Church in Southern California