I waive my right to guaranteed appointment

I sent this message to my bishop after reading the Judicial Council decision on guaranteed appointment a couple of weeks ago.

Dear Bishop Mike,

I am not ordained. It is quite possible that the Indiana Conference, in its wisdom, will decide I should not be ordained in the future. But if I am ordained to the ministry of an elder, I wish to make one thing clear.

If ever it is the judgment of the cabinet of the Indiana Conference that I am an ineffective pastor, I pledge to work as hard as I am capable to become an effective pastor. If I fail at this, if in the opinion of the cabinet I am deemed ineffective and harmful to the mission of the United Methodist Church in Indiana, I pledge to submit my credentials and seek a different way to live out my calling.

I ask that if it ever should come to this that the Conference will help me transition out of the order of the elders in a way that does the least possible harm to my family. I know there are limits to what the Conference can do.

I am seeking to be ordained an elder to bring glory to Jesus Christ and fulfill his mission for the church. If I fail to do this, I would rather leave the order of elders than do damage to the kingdom through my fear or reluctance to find another way to earn a living.

When your days as bishop in Indiana come to a close, please pass this note along to your successor in the episcopal office. And God bless you in your ministry.

Grace and peace.

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2 thoughts on “I waive my right to guaranteed appointment”

  1. John,
    I am glad that I am the first to comment so that I can see what others will say. I have never heard you preach nor seen you interact with your congregations. But I know from what you write that you have a true understanding of what John Wesley was seeking and that you endeavor to put that understanding into play with your congregations.

    If I may be so bold, I don’t think that you needed to write this letter because I have gathered from what you have written that if the time were ever to come when you fail to be an effective preacher or you come to think that you have lost the spirit that lead you to the pulpit in the first place, you will know what to do.

    The problem in the church (and business and school) is that those who are the most ineffective don’t understand this and they keep on going until the very bitter end, never realizing what their ineffectiveness is doing to the people they touch or themselves.

    In peace and with Christ,
    Dr. Tony

  2. A reason I chose not to pursue ordination was the dual right/responsibility of guaranteed appointment. It was like joining the army, which some choose, but I valued my choice of location and was willing to take the risk of being unemployed. Still I believe the appointment system is a valuable part of the Methodist connection. Those who are ordained should have both the obligation to serve where appointed, and guarantee of minimum income.

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