April 23, 2010

Your Guaranteed Appointment or Maybe Not!

Not sure how well known this is, but there is a movement in our United Methodist Church to eliminate the guaranteed appointment.

First, did you know this? And second, how do you feel about it?

From my view, if church work totally depended on the spirituality of the pastor and if pastors were totally responsible for the well-being of churches, I could see...maybe.

Just seems to me that the Bible gives a solid witness about prophets being stoned and Jesus crucified by religious leaders. This makes me worry that not having the support offered by a guaranteed appointment would enable churches, especially toxic ones, to stomp out pastors' prophetic voice. And I worry that pastors who are women and ethnic folks would be further marginalized.

What is happening where you are?

Grace, Kathy


  1. I wonder what happens to itenerancy if the guaranteed appointment goes away? Why would I agree to go where sent if I'm not guaranteed a job? Will we just become a call system?

  2. If elders aren't guaranteed an appointment, they would experience ministry as every other UM pastor does. We aren't guaranteed appointments. And most of the time, we do just fine with that.
    I think a guaranteed appointment can (not necessarily does) make a pastor lazy and in turn, ineffective in his/her ministry.

    It's my understanding part of the reasoning behind the removal of guaranteed appointments is simply to keep a pastor from getting to "elder" and just taking it easy from there on out. We need all ministers to work, to produce fruit.

  3. Dear Anonymous, Frankly, I don't know any pastors who work less than 60 hours a week. Stats show that the sicker the church, the more hours the pastor puts in. From other spouses I hear that pastors seldom even take a whole day off. If you know elders who aren't pulling their weight, perhaps you should say something to them. It's not uncommon for my spouse to put in 12-14 hrs days and he is always on call. And his ministry is fruitful.
    It's too easy to be critical of pastors and blame them. A large part of the reason to get rid of the guaranteed appointment is simply money and not ministry.

  4. Dear Anonymous, By every other UM pastor, I guess you mean part-time and full-time local pastors, who are very important to our system. But elders bear special rights and responsibilities. As you know they also have to fulfill many requirements, like education. All of this to say that, elders are the leaders of our Church. Believe me, I'm a deacon and I understand about not having a guaranteed appointment.
    Frankly, I'm worried that bishops will not give appointments to older clergy because they can make less expensive appointments of local pastors.
    So if we are going to do away with the guaranteed appointment, there needs to be a check on the bishop's power as a balance of power to prevent autocratic abuse.

  5. As the wife of one of the full time local pastors who doesn't have the "rights and responsibilities" of an elder, but who has a doctorate(earned) and has to print his own bulletins, cut the grass, provide the special music himself, etc, we have had our lives placed in turmoil suddenly by an announcement that in less than 30 days we will have nowhere to go because we are not being reappointed. No complaints from the church, district, or conference, just the economic need of the church we have served for 5 years to become less than full time. Have any of you experienced "where to go, what to do, what about health insurance,can we retire in less than 30 days,where do we move because the church is only going to move us one time" (you can't even buy a house in less than 30 days LOL)Frustration needs to hear from those who have survived!!!

  6. Dear Anonymous, I am so sorry. What an impossible situation to be put in. Has your DS or bishop offered any help on this? This really concerns me, because I see it happening more often. Not sure what conference you are in, but if you are in the Tennessee Conference, how you talked to the Conference Treasurer?