As we speak, our Jurisdictional delegates are at Lake Junaluska voting on the various candidates for bishop. As our area will be receiving a new bishop, we have a vested interest in the outcome.
Having lived through the tenure of several bishops, I certainly hope we get a good one. But what kind of bishop would that be?
1. Please send us a person who doesn't NEED to be a bishop. We don't want someone who has spent their entire professional life preparing this this office or who sees it as the pinnacle of success. Send us someone who could take it or leave it. Otherwise, that person will have too much ego wrapped up in their office, leaving little room for servant leadership.
2. Please send us a person who won't try to blow things up once they are here. We've suffered that already. Our conference has its weaknesses, but we also have significant strengths. We need a bishop who can help us build on our strengths and not undercut or undermine the vital ministry that is happening.
3. Please send us someone who is secure enough in themselves, their faith, and their experience who will listen and find ways to partner with us in mission and ministry. We don't need someone who believes that it is their way or the highway.
4. Please send us a leader with a collaborate style. If our bishop is even perceived as autocratic, disaster will follow.
5. Please send us someone who has people skills and who can actually lead Annual Conference in a positive manner.
6. Please send us someone who will hold the reins of power loosely enough that new and entrepreneurial ministries can emerge, so that new churches can arise.
7. Please send us someone who is still on the road to perfection, who actually believes that they have not arrived or that there might be others in front of them.
8. Please send us someone who understands the connectional church at the district and conference levels. Someone who will actually stay in our conference and work with us and not be jetting off to save the world elsewhere.
9. Please send us someone who has served and grown local churches, but who also sees that vital ministry happens in a variety of contexts--universities, hospitals, armed services, counseling centers, etc.
Like you, I agree that no person is perfect and that our conference will not get everything we need in the person who is our bishop. But if I have to sum it all up, I'd say, send us a person who has a mature faith and who isn't afraid to find new ways to partner with us in ministry, someone who will instill confidence and hope rather than doubt and fear.
I hope you are praying for you delegates as well.