IT’S JUNE! It’s that time for Annual Conference and for us, the itineracy is once again engaged. In other words. It’s moving time. Many people often wonder why we Methodists do what we do. But regardless of how we explain our method, I believe it is the best method in all Christendom.
First, preachers are free to be prophetic. We can preach the Gospel as it is written and can’t be fired. Lots of preachers outside Methodism do not have that security. Also, when one appointment ends another begins. Even those retiring are appointed to “locate”. The appointed preacher must give consent for a retiring preacher to locate in the desired local church. And if the retiree starts to interfere with the workings of the appointed pastor, the Bishop can be called who has authority to forbid the retiree from attending that church. We are always members of and accountable to the Annual Conference and the Bishop.
Second, the local churches are guaranteed a pastor. In most cases, a pastor is better than no pastor. (And conversely, a church is better than no church.) The appointment is not based upon a popularity contest. There is serious effort to match gifts and graces with needs and potential; not popularity. We find that meaningful ministry often gets done when least expected. After all, by the grace of God we are able to do what we do. Some sow, others water but God gives the increase!
Our system is based on a yearly appointment. It is a system that says to love one another and work in the Kingdom of God for his glory regardless of personal preferences. It causes us to focus on the major call of God rather than on ourselves! It expects the church to be the church!
We serve Jesus! Let’s be faithful to him. -- Ben