What is a guaranteed appointment in the UMC?

According to the 2008 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, “Every effective elder in full connection who is in good standing shall be continued under appointment by the bishop…” (¶334.1) There is conversation about changing the “shall” in this paragraph to “may.” This would, in effect, end a guaranteed appointment to serve at a local church.

In addition to the characteristics of an effective clergy person from ¶340 in the Book of Discipline, there are several other professional responsibilities that are necessary to continue to be eligible to be appointed to serve at a local church. According to ¶334.2, they are:

  • Be available for appointment
  • Complete an annual evaluation with both the church and District Superintendent
  • Show evidence of continuing effectiveness reflected in these annual reviews
  • Participate in continuing education and formation.
  • Willingness to supervise and mentor others

Shall, may, guarantee or not all this seems reasonable to me. How about you?