In the grand scheme of things, I haven’t been in ministry that long. I have, however, been in appointive ministry long enough to hear two baby bishops make grand promises about a change in the way appointments are made–an end to systems that ensure pastors climb the ladder…and end to appointments that take salary into account yadda yadda. I’ve heard two new bishops make promises to lead the appointment system the way we all know is *should* be instead of the way it always has been. Both times, I was disappointed.
Somehow, I have hope this time. Bishop Lowry has issued his own little manifesto for the Central Texas Conference of the UMC. I no longer serve in that conference, but did several years ago and felt that it was two generations away from anything that could be fixed.
Then Lowry comes in and actually says the stuff that pastors (until he came around) got into all sorts of trouble from the cabinet for saying. He starts to discuss controversial issues (in the Annual Conference that tables indefinitely ANY slightly controversial resolutions). He challenged the Board of Trustees at Texas Wesleyan to start acting like a religious school (the mere fact that he showed up for a Trustee meeting was revolutionary as the previous two bishops never did). He challenged the status quo which, it seems, is what Central Texas Conference was all about. And now he does this:
He declares war on the good ole boy network and he did it in a way that was authentic, honest and confessing. He laid it all out there–including the known vacancies for appointments–and encouraged pastors to contact their DS if they felt called to one of the positions.
It looks like there might be a Maverick in town to clean up the cowboys (and hopefully let a couple Cowgirls into the saloon). I’m praying for his efforts and God’s success.