In a couple weeks, I will be officiating at the wedding of a couple who have recently moved to Texas. I met with them in person several months ago for our initial pre marital appointment. They were not able to travel to Kansas to be present again before the week of their wedding and asked if we could meet online for their next appointment. Despite being Pastor of Resurrection, this was my first premarital appointment online.
It was a great experience.
Like other online interactions I have experienced, it was helpful to have met them in person before. I would definitely do it again, as needed. What kinds of pastoral interactions have you had online?
As I begin my fourth year of appointment, I am looking forward to ordination in 2010 in the Kansas West Annual Conference. I hope to continue to serve God as a United Methodist pastor for many years to come.
Several weeks ago, I interviewed with the Board of Ordained Ministry in Kansas West and was continued as a provisional member of the conference. This is good news. It means that next year I will be eligible to be fully ordained and have all the rights and responsibilities of a clergy person within the United Methodist Church. I interviewed with a team of three persons – two clergy and one lay. I recognize that I am just starting out this ministry thing and always seek to learn from others. My final question for them was, “What advice would you have to offer me, as someone just starting out in ministry?” There responses are excellent.
Love the people.
Don’t denigrate what is happening when you first arrive in an appointment.
There are hands on practical things to do as a pastor – call when someone is not in worship, call when they come back to worship, make rounds like a doctor.
I appreciate all the wisdom that those who have gone before me in the path of ministry. I hope to always continue to learn from others.
What is some advice that you have received or that you have to offer for somone just starting out in ministry?
Another quote from Bishop Scott Jones at the Kansas East Residency Retreat:
“I am a Methodist preacher and I will go where the church sends me.”
I was struck by the plain missional approach in this statement. Being in ministry is not primarily about my goals, desires or needs. These are an important part of my life, but as a Methodist preacher, it is not my primary guidance as to where to go and how to be in ministry.
God is at work in the process of making appointments and I am committed to be able to say the same thing as Bishop Jones.
I am a Methodist pastor and I will go where the church sends me.
On or before July 1, 2014 an elder within the United Methodist Church will be appointed within the Kansas Area to oversee a network of house churches across the state that worship via a live internet stream.
These house church will consist of 12-20 people who meet together for worship, hold each other accountable to discipleship, seek to invite others into relationship with Jesus and watch over each other in love. As the house church grows to more than 20 people, the group will form two groups and continue to have the opportunity to grow. Committed lay leaders will be trained, equipped and sent out to create and lead these communities of faith in their neighborhood, town or county. This lay leader will be responsible for collecting money for God’s work, visiting the sick, encouraging and discipling members of the house church.
An ordination track elder in the United Methodist Church will be appointed to the Kansas House Church Charge which will consist of up to 12 house churches. This elder will be present with the house church in worship at least every other month to offer the sacraments of communion and baptism. This elder will also be responsible for the equipping and discipling of the house church leaders. When the elder is overseeing more than 8 house churches, the Kansas House Church Charge will become two appointments to allow the churches to ensure that the equipping, leadership and discipling of the house church leaders is manageable.
would be a catalyst for making new places for new people within the United Methodist Church.
is scalable from the house church to the annual conference to the global church.
could provide a spark to plant churches that would build a physical building.
has potential to help revitalize the denomination.
What is your initial reaction to this potential new appointment?
Thanks to @clifguy for the conversation that lead to this post.
I think that leaving and arriving well is one of the most important responsibilities of an itinerant pastor and we could learn from the transition team of the President-Elect of the United States.
One of the striking differences between a pastoral appointee in The United Methodist Church and the President Elect of The United States is that the President Elect gets to start working with a team of people that will continue working with the President when she or he is sworn in to office.
A United Methodist pastor may know where she or he is to be appointed in July but is not able to really start working with the people of the new appointment until day one. Having been in only one appointment, I am not even sure how much intentional information, if any, is shared by the outgoing pastor.
The United Methodist system seems highly inefficient when compared to the level of preparation that an incoming president is able to make. Therefore, I suggest the following changes:
The outgoing pastor gives daily email briefings to the incoming pastor about the goings on of the church and people. This will help the incoming pastor move into the rhythm of the people.
If there is an assistant working directly with the pastor, the incoming pastor will imediately be able to consider hiring a new person if the current assistant is not a good fit.
The incoming pastor will begin to communicate with a weekly email or announcement in worship – to begin to share some of who she or he is with the congregation.
One of the realities of being a pastor in The United Methodist Church is that I am committed to ministry in which it is possible that I will travel from place to place. Each year all United Methodist pastors are appointed to a local church, with the hope to match the gifts of the pastor with the needs of the congregation and vice versa. Sometimes this involves a move and sometimes it does not. My candidacy mentor in the summer of 2008 what would equip me to lead in at various possible appointments after Resurrection. I was challenged by this question and will reflect on it here from time to time.
Let me be clear, I hope to continue to serve at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection for years. I am also clear that I am not called to be at Resurrection for my entire life in ministry. With that in mind, I want to think today about being an associate in a medium sized town after Resurrection.
In this appointment, I may work closely with the senior pastor and leaders of the church in all aspects of church life. I would also likely provide leadership for several ministry areas in the church. I would need to be flexible to respond to the needs of those ministry areas, even if they were not areas about which I was particularly passionate. Depending on the senior pastor, preaching on the weekend would be a more frequent occurrence and this skill would need to be developed. Involvement in the life of the community would be an important aspect of ministry.
For those of you who are currently serving as an associate in a medium sized town – what would you add?