How do Pastors in the UMC Provide Input into their Appointment?

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.

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.

Introduction

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.

Instructions

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.

Appointive Options

  • __ 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.

Appointive Continuum

[Please note your current assessment about any possible move.] _________________________________________________________________________________

Remain                                                                                                                                                                                                 Move

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.

2010 #kswumc Annual Conference

The annual conference season has begun in The United Methodist Church. This week I will be attending the Kansas West Annual Conference in Salina, Kansas. I hope to post each day this week about annual conference.

According the the 2008 Book of Discipline ¶601, “The purpose of the annual conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God.”

I hope and pray that this gathering of the annual conference will be a means to accomplishing this purpose. Do you believe that your annual conference, Kansas West or elsewhere, fulfills this purpose?

PS – #kswumc is a Twitter hashtag for the annual conference. You can follow live updates from the conference by searching for that text at twitter.com.

Update: Amazon Kindle and UMPH

Last week I wrote about the Amazon Kindle and the UM Publishing House and the possibilities of offering the Book of Discipline, Resolutions, etc. in an electronic format that would be available via the Kindle.

I received an email from a staff member of the UMPH indicating that the Book of Discipline and the Book of Resolutions are now in the process of being readied for the Kindle. In addition, research is being done about the rights around the Book of Worship and making it available as well.

Well done, UMPH. Well done.

I believe that this is an action that is pointing in the right direction for the denomination. A good sign.

What else would be helpful from the denomination in terms of digital publishing, database publishing or other resources that might be offered?

Amazon Kindle and the UM Publishing House

I think that it is a no brainer for the denomination to offer resources on the Amazon Kindle. Imagine these available electronically and portably:

  • The Book of Discipline
  • The Book of Resolutions
  • The Book of Worship
  • The Pocket Book of Worship

I found myself wishing for this last weekend when I was at the bedside of a dying congregant. I did not have my pocket book of worship, but did have my iPhone via the Kindle App. I wished that I could have had those resources at my finger tips.

In addition, Kindle‘s could be given to General Conference participants and updates could be received electronically and in a way that is searchable – no need to print volumes of paper.

What might be preventing the United Methodist Publishing House from moving in this direction? How might I (or you) be helpful in making this possibility a reality?

iCampus Summary Post

This is a collection of questions and responses to various questions about internet campus. I invite you to read each post and add any comments on that post or by emailing me directly. Thanks!

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?