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?
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