Dear Friends, In our Conference DSs are busy meeting with pastors and churches in the consultation process. For those of you not familiar with the process, it's supposed to be a time when the DS listens and discusses career opportunities from the Cabinet's side with pastors and, in separate meetings, listens to churches' concerns. Naturally, the process reflects the gifts and graces of all involved. In other words, some DSs listen well and others don't. Some pastors are more forthcoming than others. Some churches just gripe and others get the short end of the stick.
There was also a time when the spouse could also attend, as least in the meeting just with the pastor, but I never have. I figure it's private and my spouse will fill me in later anyway.
But, bottom line, I'm not sure if the process makes any difference. While I don't exactly feel like a pawn, I feel we (pastors and families) have less voice than we once did. The Cabinets just seem reactive and fearful of getting fewer apportionments.
If churches seem to have less respect for pastoral authority, it seems that Cabinets have even less. This grieves me to say this, because most of the DSs (and spouses) are our friends.
How does the consultation process work in your conference? In your opinion does it work? Is it a good thing? Might there be a better way? Please let us know.