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.