Go Where You’re Sent

Due to the global pandemic, the North Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church is meeting virtually this year. The clergy and laity will meet separately on Thursday followed by a business session on Friday. On Saturday, two worship services will honor those who have died and celebrate those who are ordained.

Traditionally, the final agenda item is the “fixing of the appointments.” The bishop formally announces the pastoral appointments for the coming year. Back in the day, this was the first-time clergy and churches heard about upcoming changes. Today, the announcement formalizes the work done in the winter and spring.

On a personal note, I am delighted that our entire clergy team has been reappointed to Northside United Methodist Church. Catherine Boothe Olson, Jeff Rogers, and I look forward to serving our congregation and community during the coming year.

Ordained elders in the United Methodist church serve as itinerate pastors. During ordination, we promise to go where the bishop sends. It’s like signing a blank check with the currency of your life, trusting another to spend it wisely.

I entered the full-time ministry in 1982, and I have served seven appointments over the past thirty-nine years. My family and I have experienced the gamut of emotions during years of transition and change. Looking back, however, I can witness the Holy Spirit working in, thru, and despite our appointive process.

I sometimes smile and say, “Methodist polity is the worst system in the world—except for all of the rest of them!” Despite the challenges and shortcomings of itinerant ministry, I cannot imagine a better way of discerning pastoral appointments.

Although Methodist elders take formal vows of itineracy, God calls ALL Christians to go wherever the Lord sends. Faithful disciples walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Go where you are sent, and you will find the Holy Spirit waiting.

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