Grace and peace to you from the Lord Jesus Christ. I am sure that many of you have heard reports from General Conference that a vote was taken that would eliminate what is known as “guaranteed appointment” for elders, provisional elders and associate members. Along with it there were two added paragraphs that monitor appointment-making. One requires the bishops to establish a task force to develop a list of criteria to guide the cabinet and the bishop as they make missional appointments. The other paragraph requires an annual reporting of all elders, provisional elders and associate members who have not received a full-time missional appointment with rationale, statistics and learnings that have been gleaned as appointment-making is carried out in a new way. Also this information will become a part of the evaluation of the bishop by the Committee on Episcopacy at the conference and jurisdictional levels. This tells me that careful monitoring and criteria are a part of this plan.
What has changed? In some ways nothing has changed because effectiveness will always be an expectation for our clergy. When there was a guaranteed appointment pastors were called to effectiveness and still effectiveness is our goal. We want to make disciples for Jesus Christ and live our lives solely for the work of God’s kingdom. God is on the journey with us and the Spirit empowers us for the ministry to which we have been called.
General Conference is still in session and many issues are still to be decided. I plan to come to every district this fall to have further conversations about the changes that will be a part of the 2012 Book of Discipline. The church is living into a new era and many of our changes will help us to grow and improve as a denomination. My prayers are with you.