This morning, I met with a group of clergy colleagues in what is a regularly scheduled gathering. Today we shared, reflected, grieved, considered the future and talked about what and how to best share with our local congregations the events of General Conference. I shared an image of the disorientation that I am feeling in response to the passing of the Traditional Plan…
It’s like I am driving our minivan down the highway. I am making progress toward my destination. Everything seems to be running pretty well. We are on the way. I stop to refill the fuel tank and pick up some snacks. As I get out of the vehicle and start to head inside the convenience store, I take a look back and suddenly, it’s not my the minivan. It turns out that it is a truck.
Wait a minute… What?!
I thought I was driving toward a destination and all of a sudden, I realize that I have been driving inside a completely different vehicle. What happened to the familiar surroundings of the vehicle with which I was familiar? What have I been driving all this time?
The re-affirmation of the Traditional Plan three times over – in the prioritization, in legislative committee, and in the plenary session of General Conference 2019 is confusing. I thought that I have been part of a denomination that is moving toward full inclusion throughout the entire life of the church – albeit slowly and hesitatingly. Yet, the evidence of the voting demonstrates that this is not true – at least not on a denominational level. It is frustrating to find that the United Methodist Church turned away from greater inclusion. Yet, it also illuminates the truth: There is a need action in new ways, with creative approaches, and bolder vision. I don’t yet know what this looks like, however I want to help figure out what’s next for a more inclusive church.
One of the ongoing growing edges for me in life and ministry is spending time with friends and colleagues. As a pastor in the local church, good relationships are essential to my role. I feel good about my ability to build connections within the congregation. However, there are times when I know that I miss the connections of friendships outside the local church and with clergy colleagues. While there are a handful of people with whom I have stayed in connection for a number of years, I know that I need to make progress in this area for my own well-being.
In recent months, I have reconnected with some old friends, met with new colleagues, and been more intentional about the relationships of which I am a part – both in the local church, community, and across the connection. I am glad for this. I am hopeful to continue to build on these relationships and others as I continue to seek to be fruitful in ministry and whole across all areas of my life.
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver. Bishop Hagiya of The Pacific Northwest Conference who shared his dissertation research results around the 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?”
From in-depth interviews in response to this question, Bishop Hagiya found:
12 Key Leadership Traits of Effective United Methodist Pastors
Excel in Emotional Intelligence
Excel in Transformational Leadership – They see the gifts in others, name & cultivate those gifts, and unleash these gifts and people into the ministry & community
Possess a deep well of faith in a Triune God, from which spring their values, behaviors, attitudes and decisions.
Have a passion for their work in ministry, and are engaged and focused in their work.
Possess a deep humility that stems from their allegiance to a higher authority & calling.
All have mentors who have shaped their formation, leadership in ministry and provided trust and counsel.
Demonstrate entrepreneurial traits and behaviors.
Excel in oral & written communications. They are some of the top preachers of their annual conferences.
Demonstrate resiliency in their personal & professional set-backs, and attribute such resiliency to their faith life and practice.
Have a personal vision, and that vision does have an impact on the larger vision of the church where they serve.
Understand systems theory and organizational development.
Adapt to and are impacted by the local church’s situation and context.
This week I was part of the BOM Mid Quad Training Event in Denver. After some reflection, I want to share some possible next steps for me and for our Board of Ordained Ministry. Here goes…
Next Steps for the Board of Ordained Ministry
Have God’s eyes for big possibilities
Consider process changes to encourage and identify highly motivated, self-starting, creative and entrepreneurial leaders.
Be steady in purpose, but flexible in strategy. -Gil Rendle
Continue commitment to change and diversify
Be intentional in language used around the candidacy process – What do we do? Why do we do it?
Focus on telling the story of the Great Plains Board of Ordained Ministry – not the stories of the Board from our former conferences.
Explore ways to recruit before self-selection as a candidate
Identify the small changes which would make the biggest difference in changing the dynamics of the Board.
Next Steps for Me
Have God’s eyes for big possibilities
Actively engage as a lifelong learner, i.e. D. Min, conferences, reading, etc.
Be part of addressing the challenges and capitalizing on the opportunities of being a global denomination with a democratic polity.
Consider additional opportunities to serve at the annual, jurisdictional and general conferences
Look for ways to further develop my:
understanding of systems theory
Continuously look for the gifts in others, name and cultivate those gifts, and unleash these gifts and people into the ministry and community.
Seek out those who would mentor me and those who could be mentored by me.
Recognize that deep change means surrendering control.
Identify the small changes which would make the biggest difference in my leadership in the local church
Seek both mastery and originality
Will you please share your thoughts, feelings and opinions about these lists? What changes could be most helpful for the Great Plains Board of Ordained Ministry? How might I best improve my work as an Elder in the United Methodist Church?
As a pastor, I have the great honor of being part of some of the most significant events in the lives of people. One of these is when a couple is joined together in Christian marriage.
Premarital appointments with a couple are crucial as they create the opportunity to:
Get to know each other
Plan a service of Christian marriage that makes sense for them
Offer coaching or help around areas of concern for the couple
Share guidance from marrying and counseling couples
I am in my ninth year as an appointed pastor in the United Methodist Church and during that time I have officiated at thirty-seven services of Christian marriage and currently have four scheduled in the next twelve months. I have developed this template for four premarital appointments. While I will continue to develop it, I wanted to share my current version with you.
Myth Three: Older leaders are more likely to burn out than younger leaders.
Recent research on clergy age seems to indicate that younger clergy are more likely to burn out than their older colleagues. In general, levels of mental health improve as people age. And older clergy are more likely than their younger colleagues to have learned how to manage their stress.
It seems that clergy that do not learn how to manage stress do not have the opportunity to be in ministry a long time because they burnout. How do you respond? In what ways do you manage stress?
“It turns out United Methodist congregations gave their leaders a $15 boost (in 2008 dollars) on average for each new member added (about 3 percent of new revenues generated from the membership increase) and cut their pay by about $7 for each member lost.”
The article implies causation, while I believe that the data is clearly correlation. However, it is interesting.
How should clergy be compensated? In what way should pay level be determined for clegy?