“Appointments shall take into account the unique needs of a charge, the community context, and also the gifts and evidence of God’s grace of a particular pastor. To assist bishops, cabinets, pastors, and congregations, criteria must be developed and analyzed in each instance and then shared with pastors and congregations...”
(The Book of Discipline, ¶425-430, 2012 ed.)
My March 12, 2010 article, entitled “A Call to be sent forth” made reference to the appointment-making process as “too often clouded in mystery, mythology and misperception.” I have asked the Rev. Brian Milford, Dean of the Appointive Cabinet, to partner with me in writing this follow-up in order to help make more apparent how we are striving to determine appointments in the Iowa Conference.
Friends, every day is an opportunity for the fresh wind of the Spirit to blow and we believe we are being called to ever higher levels of clarity and accountability as we seek to serve God and the needs of our communities in our shared work. "Missional Appointment Making best describes our goal as we move through our current appointment season.
Our mission, to “make disciples of Jesus Christ and transform the world” asks us to focus outward. Appointment-making should always be in alignment with that mission. We strive to uphold the values of Gospel-inspired prayer, consultation and mutual covenant throughout the process of appointment-making.
Your Bishop and appointive cabinet affirm the following principles in making appointments:
• A first level priority is to make appointments that will further the mission of making disciples and transforming the world.
• The DS is the steward of the United Methodist witness in the area/district/conference and not primarily a steward of each congregation's ministry (that is the role of the pastor and lay leadership).
• The appointive cabinet works to balance the needs of the mission field- the context of each community along with the needs of the congregation and pastor.
• Since past performances (of both of clergy and congregation) are strong indicators of potential, we will give most of our attention to matching high performance individuals with high potential areas.
• Clergy deployment and congregational needs will be considered as far as possible in light of collected data and direct observations than based upon hopes or suppositions.
• Salary level is a consideration in appointment-making but not the only criterion. The financial needs of clergy families and experience and skill needs of the congregation will all be taken into consideration. Therefore, not all moves will involve an increase in salary.
• Pastoral appointments are for one year at a time and fixed by the Bishop at Annual Conference. Our goal is to continue to move toward longer term appointments. We recognize that there are times when the missional needs of the conference and denomination are not the same as the missional needs of individual congregations, we prayerfully weigh both concerns in our decisions.
We want to be good conversation partners with pastors, congregations and conference staff in making appointments based on the missional needs of the diverse areas that make up the Iowa Annual Conference. With God's grace and your support, we earnestly seek to be as clear and open as possible while endeavoring to “Do No Harm, Do Good and Stay in Love with God” throughout the process.
As we pray for you, all of our churches and the world we serve in Christ's name, please keep us in your prayers as well!
Rev. Brian K. Milford
Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble