March 8, 2011

Are pastors in some Conferences better than others?

OK, OK, please keep reading past the title.

Here's the thing, so often we hear about the lack of pastoral leadership and the continual declining membership of the UMC. This had led to some pastors and bishops to say that the church needs to weed out ineffective pastors--and one way to do this is to eliminate the guaranteed appointment.

1. The logic is flawed for lots of reasons but here are four. Membership is declining in all mainline denominations. Perhaps all mainline denominations have ineffective clergy. And this is probably true, but until recently some Southern Baptist and non-denominational groups were growing. Does that mean that Southern Baptist or non-denominational pastors are more effective as a group? Or could it be that there are other factors at work?

2. Some UM jurisdictions are bleeding members while others are not. Does that mean that, therefore, their clergy are more ineffective or are there other factors at work: for example, demographics or geographical relocation patterns?

3. Is making the ministry more stressful by taking away a major benefit going to help or hurt clergy physical, emotional, and financial health? More stress = Higher health insurance costs.

4. In actuality we really don't have a guaranteed appointment now. Bishops have more power than you might think. Surprised? But we do have a process and some protections in the Discipline. Know anyone who has been unjustly treated?

Keep in touch.


1 comment:

  1. My husband has been in the UMC all his life. He (we) served his first church 15 years, second 11 years and have been at our third now 6 years. It is a part-time appointment as he is also appointed to an extension ministry. I don't feel we have ever been treated unfairly but have "heard stories" of pastors who were moved because of their conservative theology or the fact that they believed in the Holy Spirit and miracles for today.

    Having said that, I still don't know if they were treated unfairly because I only know one side. There was a case of a friend with a two-point charge where the one church "loved him" and the other seemed not to since they complained to the D.S. and became the "squeaky wheel" to have him moved. The other church was offended and there are hard feelings between them still.

    So, the church (any denomination or non-denomination) is made up of imperfect members led by imperfect clergy (from the Bishop down)all serving (hopefully!) the only Perfect One. I think the key is really to not take offense when things "don't go your way" and rely on the One who called you to ministry. May sound simple but unforgiveness is what hinders our ministry more than "bad appointments"!