I have a few suggestions to make Annual Conference a little more interesting. Feel free to add your own in the comments sections.
1. Use a scoreboard clock that counts down the allotted time for each report with a loud buzzer marking the end of the report, whether or not they were done or not. Continue reading
I remember my first encounter with Wesley’s class meetings. It was in a church history class in college, and I heard about this strange thing the early Methodists did. They met together weekly with no agenda except to bear one another’s burdens. I heard about the rapid growth of the Methodists and the scriptural holiness that spread across the land. I thought it would be brilliant if someone could write a book that teaches us about the early method of discipleship of our Methodist fathers and mothers. Kevin Watson has done just that. His book Blueprint for Discipleship is an accessible, practical, and timely book for not just the United Methodist church, but the Church in general. Continue reading
The hard part was over. I had the 30 pages of answered questions. I had preached the sermon, got the Bible Study ready, and passed the interview. I had taken the necessary classes from seminary and went through every hoop the Methodist Church had set before me, it was finally time to be commissioned. I answered my call in the summer of 2001, and it was finally now in the spring of 2009 that I have become Reverend.
So to say that Monday night May 25, 2009 was a big night in my life is a bit of an understatement. I knew this. I knew that I had family coming in from out of town to attend the commissioning (There was my new nephew Bennett that they came to see as well.) There was the barrage of handshakes and congratulations that were flying my way from an assortment of communities that I had been a part of. I knew this was a big night. Continue reading
Now that I am a Reverend-Elect, I thought I would give some advice to all those candidates for ministry in the UM church who are going through the process to commissioning.
1. Plan ahead. It is easy to put your commissioning off. You are busy with Seminary. You have a family that needs your attention. You might be working one or two jobs. If you plan ahead though you can be disciplined with your time. Some conferences allow you to be commissioned half-way through, but they require you to have completed certain classes, know those classes and plan your schedule around them. Also, communicate with your DCOM and let them know your intentions. I met with them over the phone last Spring with the goal in mind to be commissioned this Spring. They would not had suggested it had I not initiated the idea. So, look over the process, put goals in mind and plan ahead. Same thing with finishing up your candidacy stuff. It could take a while to get in for the psychological testing. So plan ahead. Continue reading
There has to be a better way. That’s my conclusion. I don’t know if you are supposed to start a blog post with your conclusion, and plus if you are going to start it with a conclusion, then you probably should have a better one than this, but this is my conclusion, “There has to be a better way.” If this was Jeopardy, there would be a lot of possible correct questions: What do we do about our economic situation? What about a new design for Caprisun’s that don’t cause holes in both sides of the drink? And this question: What do we do when a United Methodist Annual Conference have a substantial inflow of new clergy without the matching outflow needed to fill all the spots? This is the situation of North Georgia and in North Carolina. To read about the situation in North Carolina click here, where there are over 2 dozen clergy who are appointmentless. Continue reading
Church membership is a tricky issue. Lately, it has been an even trickier issue in the United Methodist Church. How wide do we open the gate of the church, seems to be the question. Do we let anyone in who wants in, or do we use a heavy background check? Whose responsibility is membership is it the church, or is it the individual? Lots of good questions on membership, here is my take.
First, a little background. I’m United Methodist born and bred, and I am a huge fan of John Wesley. I especially love early Methodism’s emphasis on scriptural holiness spurred on by Class Meetings. Class Meetings were the requirements for everyone in the society (Wesley was still a part of the Anglican church, so this was similar to our modern day congregation, but not exactly equivalent) . Requirements for the class meetings are desiring to flee from the wrath to come and continued attendance. I have lately been influenced by church’s that have carried on in the spirit of that tradition and have requirements for membership. Continue reading
I am taking The Theology of John Wesley this week and thought that I would share this paper that I wrote on Christian perfection. It was supposed to be a more personal reflection on it as well as an analysis of it, so here you go: enjoy.
Our culture is fascinated with perfection. We were captivated by the New England Patriots pursuit of perfection. We thought their run was an incredible feat, and we found out just how hard perfection actually is to obtain. Just the other night a baseball pitcher had a perfect game for 7 innings, but he could not finish it off, proving again just how hard perfection is to attain. Some will do almost anything to have the “perfect” body. One of the most frequent words that we see paired up with perfection is impossible. One of our most repeated phrases is “Nobody’s perfect.” All these add up to why there was such an adverse reaction to Wesley’s idea of Christian Perfection. We just cannot get it around that somebody can be perfect especially in this life, especially as it relates to God, and even though Wesley made it clear what he meant by Christian perfection, it is obvious that many then (and now) are anchored on the word perfection that they cannot grasp the incredible doctrine that it contains. Continue reading