Yesterday was Day 2 of the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver. The morning was a back and forth between presentation from Bishop Hagiya of The Pacific Northwest Conference and conversation in response at our tables with others from our annual conference. In the afternoon we self-selected into affinity groups for conversation and the evening brought jurisdiction meetings.
I found Bishop Hagiya’s presentations to be the most significant part of Day 2. Here are some of the highlights:
Research Question: “What traits, qualities, or characteristics, if any, do highly effective and successful United Methodist Church ministers exhibit specifically in regard to growth of their churches when compared to less effective United Methodist Church ministers?”
There was significant correlation between high effective clergy and
Yesterday, I shared a bit about how pastors are appointed in The United Methodist Church. I mentioned a form that clergy fill out each year regarding their appointment and I wanted to share that form with you. This form, along with an annual appointive conversation and any other ad hoc conversation with District Superintendent or Bishop is how pastors provide input into their appointment each year. This content is copied directly from the form provided by the annual conference, which you can download a PDF or Word document using this link.
The key to an effective appointive process is open communication and consultation between and among pastor(s), Committee(s) on Staff/Pastor Parish Relations, Bishop, and the Appointive Cabinet. The District Superintendent, acting on behalf of the Bishop, works directly with the pastor(s) and local church Committee(s) on Staff/Pastor Parish Relations to enable the appointive process to reach an acceptable conclusion. [2008 Book of Discipline, ¶433] This assessment is treated as confidential information for the use of the Bishop and Appointive Cabinet. Pastors are expected to be honest in dealing with their congregation and others about any possible preference for a move. Pastors waive the right to confidentiality, should they be anything other than forthright in this matter.
In your prayerful consideration, please check the option that best represents your assessment for the coming appointive year. Note on the continuum where you see yourself with regard to any possible move. Sign and return this form to the office of your District Superintendent by December 15th. In consultation with your DS, you are responsible to notify your S/PPR Committee of your request. Use back of form for any additional comments.
__ This appointment appears to be a match and effectively utilizes my gifts and graces. I acknowledge that all appointments are annual, and I may be considered for a different appointment. If so, the following ranking of concerns applies. I realize that not all my concerns may be satisfied in any appointment. [Please rank your concerns in order of importance, with #1 being your highest priority.]
__ A different location (describe):
__ A different situation (describe):
__ Spouse, family, or household considerations (describe):
__ Salary increase is a critical need.
___ This appointment does not appear to be match. Using the list of concerns above, I will provide information about the type of appointment which would utilize my gifts for ministry. (Rank your concerns on the list above; use back page if necessary.)
___ I plan to retire, request leave of absence, ask for honorable location, or otherwise discontinue active ministry in The United Methodist Church. If retiring, a letter to the Bishop requesting this status is required 120 days preceding Annual Conference.
[Please note your current assessment about any possible move.] _________________________________________________________________________________
“Although social media has been around for less than 10 years, it doesn’t have the makings of a fad,” said Bishop Herzog. “We’re being told that it is causing as fundamental a shift in communication patterns and behavior as the printing press did 500 years ago. And I don’t think I have to remind you of what happened when the Catholic Church was slow to adapt to that new technology,” he said, referencing the Protestant Reformation.
“Anyone can create a blog,” he noted. “Everyone’s opinion is valid. And if a question or contradiction is posted, the digital natives expect a response and something resembling a conversation. We can choose not to enter into that cultural mindset, but we do so at great peril to the Church’s credibility and approachability in the minds of the natives, those who are growing up in this new culture. This is a new form of pastoral ministry.”
A few of the key points in favor of continuing guaranteed appointments include:
Guaranteed appointments prevents a congregation from hiring or firing a clergy person based on her or his race, color, national origin, or sex.
Guaranteed appointments prevents a congregation from hiring or firing a clergy person in response to their prophetic voice in the pulpit or pushing the congregations in directions that they do not wish to go.
Guaranteed appointments don’t make a difference in these areas of potential influence of the congregation. It is still up to the Bishop with the guidance of the cabinet to appoint clergy to churches. I trust the bishop and cabinet to be responsible and faithful in the appointment process. An open communication channel between the District Superintendent and the clergy person will prevent trouble in these areas.
If clergy are not guaranteed appointments, will churches be guaranteed to have clergy assigned to them?
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.
Over this summer, I had my first opportunity to experience an Episcopal election first hand. I had the opportunity to experience this process both as a voter and as someone helping run a candidacy. I discovered that there is a fine line that candidates try to walk between making yourself “available” for election and “running” for the office. The process is inherently “political” but also a matter of spiritual “discernment.”
All 11 candidates were exceptional people. They had a breadth of experience and a deep spirituality. It was not so much a matter of “do they have the initial qualifications” but how do I discern differences between the different candidates?
Prior to the Jurisdictional Conference in Grand Rapids, I received a number of mailings, postcards, personal letters, and websites to seek information. Most of them were the equivalent of “plain yogurt.” Everyone used many of the same terms like “bridge builder, visionary, leader, spiritual.” I spent a lot of time trying to read between the lines to figure out the encoded message about what they really believed.
The sessions during Jurisdictional Conference itself provided some additional ways to gain insights, but were limited as well. Most candidates said the same things …”I will gather a team together, listen to the chorus of voices, lead by consensus, etc.” I spent a lot of effort trying to discern the differences between candidates while they were trying to articulate their position in a way that had the broadest appeal. The simple question is, “Is this process the best way to elect a bishop?” So, over the next few weeks, we’ll open a few questions up for discussion …
What are the qualifications for a bishop?
Should we judge a candidate on performance? If so, what are the measures?
What is the right way for the electorate to get to know the candidates?
Do you have any experience at Jurisdictional Conference? Is this common across Jurisdictions? Feel free to post your experiences.
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?