Presentation on theme: "Dr. John Wigger, Univ of MO Guilded Age of Methodism 1850 Methodism embeds itself in the culture Adapts to the frontier Opens up leadership Lay people."— Presentation transcript:
Dr. John Wigger, Univ of MO Guilded Age of Methodism 1850 Methodism embeds itself in the culture Adapts to the frontier Opens up leadership Lay people have more control-larger pool for ministry Decentralization: not tightly controlled Keep physically close to culture and communities Apprenticeship system: raising up leaders Adaptable to American culture
Challenges to the UMC in the 21 st Century Context is changing—technology, global realities, aging of the UMC, limited conference loyalty, “less doing more” Haven’t adapted to the ‘new frontier’ Institution is highly centralized, ‘top heavy’ Complexity of ordained ministry process What does it mean to be a mission movement?
Charge to the Commission The 2008 General Conference charged the Study of Ministry Commission to submit legislation addressing the issues before the commission including the ordering of ministry, the separation of ordination and conference membership, and the streamlining of the process leading toward ordained ministry.
Challenge The percentage of young adult clergy leaders in the U.S. church is alarmingly low With the number of clergy retirements projected by 2031, the church will be critically short of meeting current clergy needs if the trend is not reversed Ordained/provisional elders under 35 = 5.47% Ordained/provisional deacons under 35 = 9.56% (2010 Clergy Age Trends Report – Lewis Center for Church Leadership)
Vision Candidates are eligible to be ordained following one year of service as a certified candidate and completion of educational and preparation requirements Newly ordained clergy serve in a residency period for a minimum of two years before becoming full members of the annual conference During the provisional period, they serve as ordained leaders while testing their readiness to become full members
“The Church realizes its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world through fruitful congregations that are transforming both individuals and communities and are served by effective clergy undergirded by a system that is itinerant, open, flexible and responsive.”
Remembering our History 1956 Book of Discipline: “Every traveling preacher, unless retired, supernumerary, on sabbatical leave, or under arrest of character, must receive an appointment.” 1968 Book of Discipline: commitment to open itineracy Section III Restrictive Rules of the Constitution Commitment to Itineracy and Episcopal Authority
Principle Appointments are to be made with consideration of the gifts and evidence of God’s grace of those appointed, to the needs, characteristics, and opportunities of congregations and institutions, and with faithfulness to the commitment to an open itineracy. This means appointments are made without regard to race, ethnic origin, gender, color, disability, marital status, or age, except for the provisions of mandatory retirement. ¶ 430, 2008 Book of Discipline
Challenge Security of appointment limits ability to respond to primacy of missional needs It sometimes emphasizes clergyperson’s needs more than church’s mission It restricts flexibility of appointments It is not financially sustainable because of unequal supply and availability
New Thinking: Para 337 BOD: “All elders in full connection who are in good standing in an annual conference may be continued under appointment. Missional appointments determined by needs of communities to be served and giftedness of clergy. Pressure on the BOM to provide ‘insurance policy’ of lifelong career pastors: need to be more nimble, flexible, allowing less than fulltime and hybrid appts. Transitional leave for elders and deacons in FC; transitional issues to be determined by AC
Vision Sacraments should be made available to the whole church By ordaining earlier, provisional elders will be ordained when presiding over the sacraments Sacramental authority may be given to deacons for missional purposes Sacramental authority may be given to local pastors when an elder is not available
Recommendations Form a Strategic Focus Team on Ministry Issues for quadrenium A team of with broad representation and specific skill sets related to ministry To provide future research and recommendations on issues lacking clarity from the 2012 General Conference