Tuesday, June 1, 2010

An Old Idea Looking Better

What if the mission record of the church has been poor, regardless of the vast array of clergy appointments made to said church? How in the world can it be concluded that everyone of those clergy were just ineffective, especially when they had proven themselves otherwise before or after their tenure at the resistant church?

While some have forwarded the corollary of the guaranteed appointment repeal (that is, refusing poorly performing churches a clergy appointment), there may be several other options short of stiffing the congregation an ordained pastor:
  • These instances are opportunities for bishops with exceptional pastoral skills to shine. Show the rest us how what it looks like to turn a church around!
  • In an area bishop's tenure, pastor a turn-around once every quadrennium. That would put an entirely different spin on the teaching function of the episcopacy.
  • Choose cabinet members on their demonstrated ability and willingness to turn a resistant church or churches around. They, too, could be "challenged" to select one maybe two, churches to pastor during their six year tenure.
  • Saving $ is often the rationale for getting a student or part-time local pastor. Even though churches across the connection could potentially save in overhead and apportioned expenses, The goal is equipping all pastors, especially younger clergy, with both the Spirit and the gifts.
This is not new. Appointing District Superintendents to churches is already common practice in different parts of World Methodism. Different rules are needed for different situations. In the U.S., this can be a time of peeling away overhead. It requires a new level transparency for pastors AND churches to be sure. Look at where we are now. Lay leaders and pastors hear tedious, theoretical, droning lectures on appointment making rationale. Or, how to complete reports. Uninspiring. Unconvincing. Ineffective.

Pastors and churches are commissioned to make disciples of Jesus Christ. It's time for conference leaders to let us see how it's done.


  1. I don't think a bishop or district superintendent would have the time to pastor a church while doing their other duties. But they could help to turn around a church by becoming a mentor/trainer.

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    Bishops and cabinets will only farm training or mentoring for making disciples out to others. That's what we already have. For hierarchies to actually do this the GC will need to REQUIRE it in job descriptions. It has to be a Disciplinary expectation and not just a voluntary thing.

    To start with, why not free cabinets from having to tote a pre-2000 structure filled with general board and agency responsibilities? Then, have all Bi-Annual Conferences instead of annual AND more often only as called or needed (like for ordinations).

  3. I think Wilimon has his conference staff all serving in local congregations, and I believe West Ohio has some DS's who also serve in a local church capacity, so there is certainly some precedent.

  4. check out the British system with Superintendent Ministers serving as clergy with regular preaching and sacraments, and supervising other ministers in the circuit. seems to work for them.

  5. I think that if cabinet members had their own congregations, they might be less prone to whine. I have heard many a DS complain about missing their old appointment. A good example of which is here: http://umportal.org/article.asp?id=7617


Oldies but Goodies