Just as many pastors are moving to new local churches, there are also changes for DSs and their spouses. Here is an opportunity to welcome and begin new relationships with these traveling elders and their spouses and families.
To New DSs:
First, welcome to our district. We realize that you have an impossible job and are pulled in many directions all at once, so in some ways your new job is still like serving a local church. We want to make your job as easy as possible.
Second, remember that folks in the local church really have no idea what you do. In fact some may even think that you've left the ministry altogether.
Third, we hope you will remain the servant leader you've always been and won't let the new power go to your head. And personally, I hope you won't starting running for bishop.
Fourth, while we all realize that DSs are necessary and are here to help keep the church and pastors accountable in a helpful way, please remember how ambivalent pastors and laity are about church hierarchy. It's not personal.
To New DS Spouses:
First, welcome to our district. We realize that you have a new role. And if you are a male DS spouse, you are still breaking new ground. We also hope that you find a local church where you feel comfortable and at home.
Second, remember that folks in the local church have no idea what your spouse does and many church folk don't see themselves are part of anything except the local church. They may not even care about the denomination and, as you may know, they won't know UM lingo; and you may not either.
Third, and this may come as a surprise or shock, but other minister spouses may see you as a person who will advocate for them. Historically, this has been a role of the DS and bishop's spouse. As you know, we spouses and our families do not have an official voice and are often the collateral damage of denominational politics, so we might look to you for support. If you are a male spouse, please know that you have a part to play and are a role model.
Fourth, please keep your spouse on the straight and narrow, but also please make sure they take care of themselves, you, and your family, because they have an impossible and often thankless job.