Friday, March 26, 2010

Moving on Up?

Last week I met with some local colleagues for coffee. We checked in about life and how things are going in general.  As we talked one colleague shared that he had a meeting with an SPRC that was not his own that night...he had been asked by the Bishop to move (and was confirmed and announced by the following Sunday to both his current and his future congregation).  His announcement provoked some further conversation amongst the rest of us.  Another colleague noted that he had had a meeting with the DS who noted he was near the end of his time in ministry (meaning near retirement age) and was therefore deserving of a "better" church.  By better the DS meant "bigger".  My colleague shared that he didn't need/want a "better" church and was happy to stay at his current church for the remainder of his tenure.  

There seems to be a mentality that bigger is better.  That's not new.  That's what our entire culture promotes. Bigger meal deals. Bigger houses. Bigger cars. Bigger closets...the list goes on.  So, it's not fully surprising that the church has bought into this mentality.  But it is a bit odd in my mind.  After all, that's not the biblical standard.

Last year after I was recommended for ordination, I received a call from a DS who congratulated me and then asked if I wanted to move.   Only having been at my current appointment for 8 months, I asked, "Why?"  The answer was, "Well, you'll be ordained, you could have a better church."  To which I responded, "Better?  Really? I'm at a church with no debt, no major conflict, and people who are dedicated to their discipleship...what exactly is a "better" church?"  Yes, those were my exact words.  I had (and still have) no desire to move.  I do not need to go "up" as "up" isn't always better.  

It was also interesting all of this came up at coffee last Wednesday because R had brought it up over the weekend. 

How long do you want to stay here?
How long do you want to stay here?
Why are you asking?
Because I want to know...
Do you want to leave?
No, how long do you want to stay here?  If they offered you a bigger church would you go?
(I'm not sure of my exact language after that point, but basically it was, "I'm not going to move simply to move up or follow some progression of expectation, I would move if I felt called to move or if the cabinet decided that was the best place for me to go.  But I also wouldn't move just so I could stay here....if that makes any sense. I would try to be faithful to my call and to God's leading...)

....I know...Methodist skeptics...I would also move if I got "traded" regardless of how odd the appointment seemed b/c I said I'd go where I was sent...I know our system isn't perfect, far from it....

The good news for this year is a move is not on my horizon (the bishop said so, I talked to her last week...I almost asked for it in writing)  =)

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