I'm going to do a series of posts to unwrap everything that happened at our Young Clergy gathering last week. Here's the original live blog posts. GBHEM was amazing! They got us to Nashville. They asked questions, encouraged and empowered us as young adult leaders. We covered everything from itinerancy, appointments, unity, movements, institutions, leadership, building community and transparency.
Our bottom line goal is to find creative ways to support this currrent group of young clergy and those coming after us. There aren't a lot of us and we want to do everything we can to help more young adults answer their call into ministry. We love what we do and want to serve alongside each other.
I also hope you hear through all this that our primary calling is to enlarge God's kingdom by making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We have simply chosen to do that through the framework and values of the United Methodist Church.
Ray Hughes wrote about our meeting after participating online from home.
April Casperson's summary of our meeting
Andrew Conard wrote his take on creating online community.
Ashlee Alley's perspective on the results of our gathering.
Guy Williams' summary
There's a fine line between loyalty & despair. Sometimes, we get locked into old systems.
Am I more loyal to God or my assumed understanding of things?
There's loyalty to the Methodist movement, to be able to dream about change, there has to be a loyalty to something different than what now exists.
Apparently, Jesus still wants to use United Methodists.
I appreciate the perspective of Jesus having loyalty to the people of the United Methodist Church as evidenced by their still being fruit produced.
How many of you have thought about other jobs? We all raised our hands.
I would give my eye-teeth for the chance to network with other young clergy about how to make an impact on this institution.
Appointments & Itinerancy
Second career clergy are highly valued and younger clergy are under-represented.
Society now expects 6 or 7 careers in the secular world. Why assume clergy will differ from the rest of society in numbers of careers? Is it reasonable to expect young clergy entering ministry to stay in until retirement?
The order of deacon struggles for people to enter for what it is, instead of what it is not [itinerant].
Itinerating as a female whose husband has to change jobs every so often is hard to accept.
Guaranteed appointments were put in place when women came into ministry - so that bishops couldn't discriminate and deny female clergy an appointment.
Unspoken question: Do guaranteed appointments hurt the system even though they help the individual?
What happens when a person is no longer effective in ministry but is guaranteed an appointment?
Originally, appointments helped move pastors to new frontiers that needed pastors immediately. Is it a system that needs to be changed?
Itinerancy is NOT a punishment that the deacons are simply trying to avoid. Being stationary is a part of their ministry.
Anita Woods (Director of Professional Ministry Development): It is no secret that the people who are administering the [residency / candidacy] program did not have to go through it in the way that it was designed.
Anita: One of our big weak links is that the DS is the supervisor. DS' are getting large districts and are not able to give necessary attention to provisional members in the system.
That may just be their way of vocalizing tremendous confusion around the role of the elder. What exactly does it mean to be an elder in full connection when a whole host of (non-ordained) folks can fulfill all the same roles you do? There is a good bit written about the decline in the particularity of the elder's role, even back to lay people first being included in ACs.
I am often saddened by the differences in conferences and how an experience that has been wonderful for me has been wretched for others.
Is it the job of the seminary, annual conference or local congregation to vet a candidate for ministry?
Some people enter ministry in order to be ministered to. This is a seminary, not group therapy. That being said, we are all broken. But people should not use the classroom as group therapy.
If our generation keeps networking the way we are, when we're in conference leadership, the collaboration landscape might be much different...