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.