A dive into the history of Methodism’s founder brings the Rev. Richard Lowell Bryant to a conclusion: we really don’t know what it means to be Methodist today, and we’d better figure it out.
Image: The Best Supper © Jan Richardson Reading from the Gospels, Year A, Proper 8/Ordinary 13/Pentecost +4: Matthew 10.40-42 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me.” —Matthew 10.40 In a beautiful town on the southwest coast of Ireland, there is a magical restaurant. My sister and I discovered it last summer. It is a wondrous combination of […]
Let’s start talking about what we value instead of constantly rehashing our fears, which is proving counterproductive, writes the Rev. Jason Valendy.
They utter Their Voice. They breathe Their Breath. They speak Their Word.And so there comes, A deluge from the sky, A mist rising from the ground….
This is the week in most annual conferences in the United States known as “transition week.” Pastors who are moving to another assignment typically begin on July 1. There is a period of welcome and adjustment to a new environment, a new group of people, a new place to live and all the million things that go into a move.
Many pastors have spouses and children who transition with them, so it is not just the pastor who has many adjustments to make. Churches too have new things to get used to as they welcome new pastors. And there is often a bittersweet mixture of “good-byes” and “hellos” in the hearts of church members.
I ask that you do the following things listed below. (These suggestions are based on concerns that come up every year during transition week.)
- Pray for those in transition: pastors, families and churches
- Churches need to welcome their new pastors and new families with as much hospitality and love as they can muster.
- Pastors need to leave their churches when they leave their churches, and not continue to have pastoral ties with families in ways that interfere with the ministry of the new pastor. At least a one-year window of absence from all contact is requested, unless one is invited back by the new pastor for some reason.
- Parsonages need to be left clean and repaired.
- Pastors should attempt to learn about the new church before changing the worship style and things that people are used to doing. There is plenty of time to make changes, once people get to know the pastor and everyone understands each other.
- Contact the district superintendent if there are any concerns about salaries or promises made at the pastoral take-in. They are there to help.
Remember to pray for our retired pastors who may not be assuming a pastoral assignment in retirement. They are starting a new journey of life and need our support as well.
The itinerant system of moving pastors is not perfect, but it has many advantages. The gifts of pastors vary greatly. With pastoral changes churches get to enjoy a variety of expressions of worship and styles of ministry that can bring health, strength and imagination to our congregations.
The most important thing is to keep the goal of preaching the gospel and making disciples as the driving passion of the church. God will lead both pastor and church into new, potentially exciting opportunities for spiritual growth and outreach.
As I mentioned yesterday, I was asked to lead a Sunday school class at Annual Conference. This is a series of posts from my notes. The lesson is based on Judges 6: 11-13.
Today’s post is our discussion on verses 11-13:
11 Then the Lord’s messenger came and sat under the oak at Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 The Lord’s messenger appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!”
13 But Gideon replied to him, “With all due respect, my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his amazing works that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, ‘Didn’t the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and allowed Midian to overpower us.”
A few things to notice in these verses:
- One doesn’t normally thresh wheat in a winepress – you normally would do it outside, but you can imagine the dust that rises when you separate the wheat from the chaff. The cloud of dust would attract the Midianites, who would come and take the crop. So Gideon is hiding out of fear, and also because the wheat is going to provide food for his family – he’s protecting them. But there is no mention that this is an unusual thing for the day – it must have been standard operating procedure for this time of oppression. It gives us a glimpse at how the Israelites were living.
- So, imagine how Gideon feels when the messenger appears and calls him a mighty warrior. He probably feels like anything except a warrior, hiding out to thresh the grain.
- And then we get a glimpse into Gideon’s mindset – his doubts and frustrations. He has heard about God’s mighty works, and yet he doesn’t see them. Has God abandoned us?
Practically everyone in your church tells you that they loved the sermon, Sunday school lesson, special music, or the new logo. Practically everyone… And then one or two people will offer some piece of criticism. They may not even have to say it. You can see it on their face as they shake your hand and file out. It never […]
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God be with us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31 After reading Exodus 23:1-19 and writing in the post “Reach New Heights”, the thought entered my mind … Continue reading →
Do you need a nap? Christine O’Brien explains the importance of rest.