I am a blessed man. I had the day off and I truly rested, even took a mid afternoon nap and it felt so great. God has blessed me with an awesome family and I have had time with many of them today. Dustin, Alex, Kyle and I went for a 2 mile walk today and it was just a great time together and the exercise was an added benefit.
Tonight Mike, Caitlin, Christopher and Victoria came over and we just had a great time together. Misty and Caitlin made a trip to Wal Mart and Mike and I kept the kids.
I am blessed. I did end up doing a little bit of work for the Conference but nothing major.
OK, get beyond thinking that these folks are being disrespectful to the church because they are not. I think this speaks to where we are today. Please share your thoughts.
Lots of people come to me with questions about the official stance on hot button issues in The United Methodist Church so I am going to take a few blogs over the next few days to inform.
One of my favorite quotes is “All that has to happen for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing”. My hope and prayer is that when people are informed they will get involved.
We have many opportunities throughout the Local Church, District and Annual Conference to be involved with decisions in our denomination.
On April 19th here in Hillsville we will hold District Youth Committee Officer Elections as well as Conference positions with youth.
If there are areas or topics that you would like for me to address just send me a note,
A lot of people have been asking what the appointment process of The United Methodist Church is and how it is handled. Here is a synopsis that explains it very well.
I believe that it is most often a fair and good process. There are certainly times when appointments are made that don’t work out very well. It is something that the SPR Committees and the Pastor’s have some say in but overall, the Bishop and the Cabinet which is made up of the District Superintendent’s make those decisions through prayer and much struggle in the Word.
Every local church needs a pastor. The United Methodist Church has a unique way of matching pastors and congregations. Rather than local churches hiring and firing their own pastors-as in some denominations-United Methodist bishops appoint pastors to serve in local churches and other ministry settings.
One advantage to this process is that a local church never has to go without a pastor. Likewise, a pastor (specifically, a full member of an annual conference in good standing) never goes without a setting for ministry. The primary goal of the appointment system is to match the gifts and graces of a particular pastor to the ministry needs of a particular congregation at a particular time.
This itinerant system, where pastors move from one appointment to another, dates back to American frontier days when circuit riding preachers traveled on horseback from town to town. At that time, bishops matched preachers to circuits four times a year. Now bishops typically fix appointments once a year.
WHERE THE UMC STANDS
To understand the appointive process, it helps to know a little about how the United Methodist Church is organized. We are a connectional church. That means individual congregations are part of a larger network known as an annual conference under the leadership of a bishop. Most annual conferences consist of several districts. Ordained clergy are members of an annual conference rather than a local church.
Bishops are responsible for assigning pastors to charges. A multi-point charge consists of two or more congregations that share a pastor. Ordinarily, district superintendents assist the bishop in prayerfully making appointments. They generally meet with pastors and representatives of local churches every year to assess the effectiveness of ministry there.
The pastor-parish (or staff-parish) relations committee represents the congregation officially in this process. Usually, when everyone agrees that a current pastor’s gifts and graces are a good match for the specific needs of a ministry setting, the pastor is assigned to remain for another year. Sometimes, however, a particular pastor is needed elsewhere or a local church requires someone with a new set of gifts and graces. In that case, the pastor will move and the church will receive someone new. The process always involves consultation, but the details vary according to the conference and the bishop.
Appointments are formally ‘fixed’ at the regular session of annual conference and they take effect on a designated Sunday, usually in early summer.
WHAT WE’RE DOING IN THIS WORLD
Our appointment process puts The United Methodist Church in a unique position to help local churches broaden their understanding and experience about who can do effective ministry. For instance, many churches who would probably not have ‘hired’ a woman pastor on their own have learned to love and appreciate the clergywomen who have been appointed to serve them. (See “Memories and Dreams: Four Clergywomen Reflect on Their Calling” by Erik Alsgaard in Circuit Rider magazine.) Likewise, cross-racial and cross-cultural appointments invite congregations to value diversity in new ways. (See “Celebrating Diversity” on the East Ohio Conference web site.)
Of course, nontraditional appointments also create challenges for both pastors and local churches. Our connectional system allows for training and support in the face of these challenges. We are always working to improve our appointment process in light of our mission to make disciples. One current trend is to foster longer term appointments so that pastors and local churches have more time to develop truly effective ministry.
Everyone is painfully aware that we are in a financial crisis. Unemployment is going up, nearly 600,000 jobs were lost in January alone. Salaries are being frozen, businesses are going bankrupt, churches are under financial pressure, homes are being foreclosed, and endowments and pension funds have dropped significantly. How should Christians respond in the current crisis?
#1 is to combat fear. 1 John 4:18-19 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us.” The other antidote for fear is to remember our history. We all either know people who lived through the Great Depression or we have certainly heard the accounts of that time, and though it was difficult they got through it. We too will get through this crisis.
#2 is for Christians to seize this time as a teaching opportunity. Underlying our economic crisis is a deeper, spiritual crisis in our lives and in our society. I believe there are times when we need things that shake us and drive us to our knees before God and I believe this is what is happening.
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. In times of economic crisis, part of the Christian message is gain all you can, save all you can (by spending as little as you can, be frugal) and give all you can. John Wesley’s sermon “The Use of Money” is as timely a word today as it was in the 18th century.
The following are stats shared by Adam Hamilton on his blog @ http://adamhamilton.cor.org/2009/02/12/in-44-years-us-umc-to-be-no-more/
In a blog entitled “In 44 Years The United States UMC to be No More”
The latest statistics for the United Methodist Church in the United States show that average worship attendance declined from 2006 to 2007 by 73,323. If our worship attendance were to continue to decline at this rate, there would be no one left in our churches in 44 years.
A few more stats: From 2001 to 2007 worship attendance declined by 8.5%, membership by 4.4%, professions of faith by 18% and UMW membership by 17%. At the current rate of decline for United Methodist Women there will be no women left in the UMW in 14 years! But a more disturbing sign of future trends is that the number of confirmands declined by 21% over that same period of time. One bright spot for 2007 was that church school attendance rose by 4,000 in 2007, after declining by a total of 256,000 between 2001 and 2006.
I believe that we have the best position or platform of any denomination today to reach this World, this Generation for Jesus Christ. Bishop Scott Jones has a book entitled “The Extreme Center” that you may want to purchase and read for a good understanding of where he sees United Methodist Doctrine.
I believe that our problem is that people have forgotten to put God first. This World is very fast paced and everybody has a lot to do and very little free time. We have work, sports, exercise, school, school activities, vacations, camping, hunting…………………………………………………………………………
The question is “Where is God in all of this? Which comes first in your world? God or ????
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