Wednesday, May 2, 2012

No Whining...

I can hear it already.  The guaranteed appointment for clergy in the United Methodist Church has been gone less than 24 hours and I can already hear the whining... and with a few exceptions (folks who are extremely well qualified but due to stigmas over race and gender may still find acceptance in certain local churches difficult) it boils down to this..."What about me?"

Well, what about you?  Or me, for that matter?

Guess what, we ain't all that...and I'm afraid that the sense of entitlement we gripe and complain about in every other aspect of social life has sadly found its way into some areas of church life.  My brothers/sisters, this should not be.

I admit, and do so quickly and freely, that I am not the sharpest crayon in the box.  There are many things about our polity and structure that, try as I may, I just don't understand.  Part of the problem is more than likely the adult ADD that my bride keeps telling me I have.  I really do have the attention span of a gnat.  Part of it is the fact that I just get tired of the arguments, so I tune some of it out.  Honestly, I'm not even sure exactly what was presented to General Conference, or what language was included in the petition...I'm not watching the live streaming feeds...I just know that my boss posted on his facebook page that the guaranteed appointment system was gone...

In fact, I'd have to look to see how long I even had a guaranteed appointment before I don't have one now...either one year or three, and I'm not sure.  But ask me if I'm worried. 

Not really. 

Sure, we all want, nay, need some level of security in our lives.  I will be the first to say that.  Security can help keep the stress level down, it can allow us to focus on the work that we are called to do, but it can also make us lazy...and by "us" I mean "us" clergy.  When we get lazy, we become ineffective.  When we become ineffective, the Bride of Christ suffers. 

I will also be the first to say that I'm not a perfect pastor.  I screw up...a lot.  But I will also say that God didn't call me to be successful, only faithful, (nor did God call me to be a slacker, by the way...and ok, God did call me to be successful...that whole "Go and make disciples thing..." wasn't "Go and try to make disciples...") and by dang, faithful is what I intend to be...faithful to the Bride of Christ...and to the denomination that I love.

Hopefully, and again I refer to the fact that I don't know all of the language that was included in this petition, not only will the removal of the guaranteed appointment for clergy create more effective clergy...but will also create more effective local churches.  Perhaps, if some of our ineffective churches realized they may or may not receive a pastor, they'd step up their efforts a little more. 

Actually, that's probably the only concern I have about the whole deal...that clergy will be held more accountable while those ineffective local churches are not, but I digress.

So, my fellow warriors for the faith, fight the good the good race...and don't worry about the rest.  If we're doing those things, and doing them well, guaranteed appointments vs. no guarantee of an appointment really is a non-issue. 


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