Excellence in Ministry #umbom14 – Reflections from Day 3

Yesterday was Day 3 of the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver.  In the morning we heard from two different panels  with Val Hastings, Founder and President of Coaching4Clergy as Moderator.

Panel 1: Developing Effective Leaders

  • Fred Allen, National Director, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century
  • Ted Campbell,  Associate Professor of Church History, Perkins School of Theology
  • Gail Ford Smith, Director, Center for Clergy Excellence, Texas Annual Conference

Panel 2: The Role of Supervision in Developing Effective Leaders

  • Bishop Cynthia Harvey, Louisiana Episcopal Area
  • Rev. Dr. Tom Choi, District Superintendent, California-Pacific Annual Conference
  • Rev. Dr. Candace Lansberry, District Superintendent, Desert Southwest Annual Conference

In the afternoon we were divided among table groups with a mix of people both geographically and in role (Board Chair, Vice-Chair, DS, etc.). We were given case studies of situations which a Board of Ordained Ministry may face and engage in conversation and reflection about what actions, motivations and next steps. In the evening, we went out to eat as a Great Plains team with one of our Iliff seminary students.

Here are some of my takeaways from the day:

  • Many early Methodist leaders would likely have faced significant challenges moving through the process with a Board of Ordained Ministry today.
  • Regarding the divide / friction / boundary between cabinet and Board of Ordained Ministry:
    • It is common across many annual conferences.
    • The Judicial Council decisions around this matter center around fair / due process.
    • Agreement around a common goal can significantly dissolve anxiety and build trust
  • Systems, processes and strategies are bound by time and place. They are not effective forever.
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How Does the Appointment Process in the United Methodist Church work?

I have been appointed to serve as the lead pastor at First United Methodist Church in El Dorado, KS beginning July 1. This is a series of posts about this transition.

When I have the chance to talk with someone more than briefly about the move one of the most common questions that comes up is about how pastors in the United Methodist Church get moved around in the first place. This question seems to be evenly distributed among those that have just started and long time attenders in United Methodist Churches. First a few of the key players

  • Bishop – oversees all the churches in an annual conference, which is nearly always a particular geographic area.
  • District Superintendents – oversee the churches in a particular area of the annual conference.
  • Cabinet – The Bishop, District Superintendents and a few other key staff

Here is the low down on the process:

United Methodist pastors are appointed to a church or churches on a yearly basis. In theory, a pastor could be appointed to a different location each year. In practice, an average would be that a pastor would serve 5 to 7 years at one location. It seems that the amount of time that a pastor serves at a particular place has trended longer more recently. Longer tenures tend to work out better for both pastors and congregations.

In the fall each year, the church makes a request as to whether their current pastor continues to be a great fit or if they would prefer that they serve elsewhere. This request is put together by the Staff Parish Committee, one of the governing bodies of the local church. As a pastor, I also complete an appointive request about whether I feel the congregation is a good fit for my gifts or if I might serve more effectively elsewhere. In addition to these forms, the District Superintendent has a conversation with both the pastor and the church about what might be next.

In January the appointive cabinet takes an inventory of all the churches and pastors is completed, taking in to account who will be retiring, who is graduating from seminary and will be ready for an appointment, what church / pastor combinations are working great and which are falling apart. Then they begin the discernment process using all this data, prayer and seeking God’s guidance to make appointments for the year ahead.

Ultimately it is the Bishop who makes the appointments with the advisement of the rest of the Cabinet. Bishop Scott Jones of Kansas has shared that the goal of the appointment process is “to maximize the missional effectiveness of every church in Kansas.”

Pastors and churches are notified of the appointments in the spring and they are fixed in the early summer at the annual meeting of all the pastors in the Annual Conference.

Does that make sense? What could be more clear? What did I get wrong? What else would be helpful to know?

Speedlinking – September 10, 2010

2010 #kswumc – Clergy Session

Tonight is the clergy session of the Kansas West Annual Conference. This is where I hope to be elected as a full member of the Annual Conference and approved for Elder’s ordination. I decided to look up officially the process for which I will be ordained and want to share a few of the applicable paragraphs in the 2008 Book of Discipline.

  • “Questions relating to matters of ordination, character, and conference relations of clergy shall be the business of the clergy session. The actions of the clergy session shall be for and on behalf of the annual conference” (2008 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, ¶605.6).
  • “Provisional members who are candidates for full connection and ordination as elders and have been provisional members for at least two years may be admitted into membership in full connection in an annual conference and approved for elder’s ordination by two-thirds vote of the clergy members in full connection of the annual conference, upon recommendation by two-thirds vote of the Board of Ordained Ministry…” (2008 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, ¶335).

I have already been recommended by the Board of Ordained Ministry, so am looking to the vote of the clergy session to move forward.

Make sense?

I am looking forward to tonight.

iCampus – What about the Book of Discipline?

This is a series of responses to questions about an internet campus from a previous series of posts. Do you have any other questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try to respond to each one. Thanks!

What about the Book of Discipline? Thanks to Mark Burleson for adding his clarification question on a previous post – Will this affect the UMC conditions on staying within your region?

Why does the Book of Discipline matter in the first place? The Book of Discipline is the governing document for all congregations and clergy of The United Methodist Church, which includes The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Part of our understood limitations as a congregation is that Resurrection shall not “do anything in opposition to the spirit and intent of the United Methodist Book of Discipline.”

Some particular paragraphs from the 2004 Book of Discipline that may be relevant to an internet campus

¶ 120 The Mission – “The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs.”

I believe that the mission of the church could be fulfilled through an online campus, including the addition from the 2008 general conference – “The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

¶ 122 The Process for Carrying Out Our Mission – We make disciples as we:

  • proclaim the gospel, seek, welcome and gather persons into the body of Christ
  • lead persons to commit their lives to God through baptism by water and the spirit and profession of faith in Jesus Christ;
  • nurture persons in Christian living through worship, the sacraments, spiritual disciplines, and other means of grace, such as Wesley’s Christian conferencing;
  • send persons into the world to live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, caring for the stranger, freeing the oppressed, being and becoming a compassionate, caring presence, and working to develop social structures that are consistent with the gospel; and
  • continue the mission of seeking, welcoming and gathering persons into the community of the body of Christ.

The only portion of this paragraph which could not be directly carried out by an internet campus would be receiving the sacaraments, an issue which I have previously noted.

¶ 202 The Function of the Local Church – The church of Jesus Christ exists in and for the world. It is primarily at the level of the local church that the church encounters the world. The local church is a strategic base from which Christians move out to the structures of society. The function of the local church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is to help people to accept and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to live their daily lives in light of their relationship with God. Therefore, the local church is to minister to persons in the community where the church is located, to provide appropriate training and nurture to all, to cooperate in ministry with other local churches, to defend God’s creation and live as an ecologically responsible community, and to participate in the worldwide mission of the church, as minimal expectations of an authentic church.

I see two items of note in this paragraph in relation to an internet campus. First, the church “is to minister to persons in the community where the church is located.” I believe that a church with an internet campus could be understood to exist in the online community and be in ministry to people of that community. Second, cooperation with other local churches would necessarily be a part of an internet campus for a United Methodist congregation. Internet campus attenders would not be discouraged from seeking out a local faith community where they are physically located.

¶ 341 Unauthorized Conduct

3. No pastor shall arbitrarily organize a pastoral charge (See ¶ 260 for the method of organizing a local church.)

4. No pastor shall hold a religious service within the bounds of a pastoral charge other than the one to which appointed without the consent of the pastor in charge, or the district superintendent. No pastor shall hold a religious service within the bounds of a pastoral charge or establish a ministry to a college or university campus served by The United Methodist Church without the consent of the pastor or campus minister in charge or the district superintendent. If that pastor does not refrain from such conduct, he or she shall then be liable to the provisions of ¶ 362.1 and ¶ 2702.

In regard to point 3, an internet campus would not be a pastoral charge, it would be a part of the ministry of an existing local church. In regard to point 4, the Book of Discipline does not anticipate an internet campus and I believe that an internet campus experience would not violate this prohibition. There are likely many ways to think about it but here are a few – there is a physical service that is taking place in an existing local congregation and the service is being “held” on the internet not in a physical location. I am sure there are other interpretations here…

What do you think about my responses? How would you answer this question?