Developmental Appointments in the UMC

The United Methodist Church would benefit from more developmental appointments.

I recently read How to build great leaders from Fortune magazine which describes developmental assignments in the business world. This excerpt from the article provides an example of this type of assignment:

Consider what happened at General Electric back in 1989, when the company’s appliance division discovered it had sold a million refrigerators with faulty compressors.

The refrigerators would have to be returned — the largest appliance recall of all time. To manage such a crisis, most companies would turn to the most experienced “recall” executive on earth. GE did the opposite.

CEO Jack Welch and HR chief Bill Conaty decided to put a promising 33-year-old manager, future CEO Jeff Immelt, in charge of the situation, though he had zero experience with appliances — or recalls. Welch and Conaty saw an opportunity to build a leader. And while the experience was hellish, Immelt says, “I wouldn’t be CEO today if I hadn’t had that job.”

I believe that my appointment at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection is a developmental appointment. On July 1, 2006, I was 2 months out from graduating seminary – an unlikely candidate to be serving as an associate pastor at one of the largest churches in the denomination. The deep dive into pastoral care, guidance and leadership as a Pastor of Congregational Care was tremendously helpful in the development of my pastoral identity, skills and leadership.

I hope that there are more bishops and appointive cabinets that are willing to appoint inexperienced, yet promising leaders to unlikely charges. Over the long run, clergy leadership will be greatly improved and renewal of the church will be one of the outcomes.

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One thought on “Developmental Appointments in the UMC

  1. Great thoughts Andrew! I see myself in a very similar situation, and I can’t quantify the benefit it has provided me in my “development” as a future leader in the church. I will be a radically different Senior Pastor one day because of my experience serving as an Associate in a large UMC.

    Thanks again for the article reference.

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