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  • Avatar
    Kathy Smith

    First, listen to God. Listen with an open mind to the church members. Be loving. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Each church is different; be willing to do things differently. Everyone does not have to agree all of the time. And, whatever you do, DO NOT micromanage!

    • Avatar
      Michael Higgs

      This article helpfully addresses the concerns of pastors and their families and bishops and cabinets. But it doesn't address the fact that too-frequent moves leave weak churches in their wake. "Itineracy" may be our heritage, but we need to balance that with the research that shows it takes a 6-10 year pastorate for cultural change to become a "fact" of a church's life. Multi-year appointment "contracts" or "covenants" are one way to address this issue. And it must be addressed if we are serious about building strong local churches.

      • Avatar
        Richard Branscomb

        Being a pk (preacher's kid) of a Methodist minister, we moved 9 times before I moved out on my own. As a male with loving parents, I was ready to move on but my sister who was 4 year younger, found the adjustment sometimes much more difficult. I've never regretted having to move a number of times in childhood do to our father's occupation . The churches my father served were receptive and acted as a second family.
        However,having not gone into the ministry myself, hopefully, my major moving days days are over having moved only one time in the last 39 years! Richard Branscomb

        • Avatar
          Rev. Jean Rollin

          I had to laugh when I read "changing their addresses three or four times during their careers."
          My father who retired in 1986 moved at least nine times and I am in my mid-50's and have moved six times. Perhaps the folks in the south move less often, but up in the north not only do we typically move more than 3-4 times, but often there is no parsonage and so we have the added stress issues of either renting or buying and then having to sell when appointed someplace else. I totally agree that longer pastorships are needed, but that is not always possible for various reasons.
          As both a preacher's kid and as a pastor myself, I have had to learn how to "begin again" and "bloom" at each place. Some places are more challenging than others both as a child and as the pastor.
          This is an important article, but it needed this added element on housing other than parsonages.
          Rev. Jean Rollin, Common Ground: A UM Community, Cambridge, MN

          • Maria

            I am going to say stop moving our pastors so much! As a parishioner I honestly think it is detrimental to the pastor, his/her family, and their flock. Our system seems out of step with the times.

            • Avatar

              As a minister' kid (PK) then a minister's spouse, and a music minister for over 25 years myself, my motto is "bloom where you are trans-planted!" Each time we moved I was sad to leave some ( not all!) but then I look back and realize how many amazing people I would not have met and experiences I wouldn't have had. Attitude is so crucial to any life experience. And that is entirely the individual's choice...

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                William, III

                My father, a UMC pastor, used to say this phrase to me growing up: bloom where you are planted. Now serving in my first appointment at a UMC in Atlantic City, these words mean more to me than ever.

                • Tom Beagan

                  I totally agree with Michael Higgs. Every study tells us that long term pastorates are beneficial to churches. We need to lessen the moves in the itinerant system.

                  • Avatar

                    I have served as a pastoral minister for 29 yrs - 5 appointments of varying length: 3 yrs, 4 yrs, 7 yrs, 1 yr and presently in my 14 year. I have come to believe that the UMC needs longer appointments. Also, we need rid ourselves of those bishops who use itinerancy as a punishment or as a means of showing off their "power."

                    • Avatar
                      a.k.a. John the Methodist

                      While I understand the need for the itinerancy system, not being an ordained elder in the UM Church, moves for ministers will less creditenals can be financially devastating. My wife is a school teacher, if we were to ask for a move, we have been told that there are no churches available (not large enough to support a full time minister or too much of a pay jump if appointed to a larger church) in our district for someone like myself (associate member.)
                      That brings up another issue, despite what I have been told about appointments being made based on gifts, time after time appointments at the lower level (full-time and associate members) are made on whatever is left after the more stable and larger churches have been filled by elders and deacons.
                      It probably sounds like I have a grudge against elders and deacons, not so. Both men and women with these creditenals have sacrificed a lot to get where they are. But the proof is in the pudding. When appointments are made, if an elder is making 40-50,000 in salary, they will not be made to take a church paying less and in most cases would not be made to take on a 2 or 3 point charge to make up this salary package..