With apologies to Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi.
Allan Bevere has a great post touching on the other side of the guaranteed appointment debate. You can read his post in full here.
In part, he writes:
Not only should the UMC not guarantee appointments for pastors due to mediocrity and ineffectiveness, neither should the UMC guarantee appointing pastors to mediocre and ineffective churches. More than a few effective pastors are struggling with low morale and depression because they have been appointed to churches that are more interested in self-service than service to the world. These are churches that say they want to grow but refuse to do what is necessary to evangelize.
Allan makes a very good point. If it’s detrimental to send an ineffective pastor to a healthy church, it’s equally problematic to send an effective pastor to a dysfunctional or change-resistant church.
So why keep sending good pastors to ineffective churches? Why not tell our most troublesome and change-resistant churches that this year they are not getting a pastor? In essence, why not make a church earn the right to have a pastor appointed to them?
I know that sounds harsh. But, really, how many churches just chew up pastor after pastor and when they are asked why they aren’t growing, they say it’s because they just haven’t gotten the right pastor yet?
Truthfully, I hope and pray it’s a minority of churches in the UMC. However, people with knowledge typically assure me it’s not. There are more ineffective, change-resistant congregations than we’d care to admit.
So why not hold them accountable? Why not make them prove they’re ready for a pastor? After all, if they are doing nothing with a pastor, they can easily keep doing that without one. However, if they’re ready to change, well now we’ve got reason to appoint somebody there.
It’s an interesting idea. I’m not sure we’re ready for it as United Methodists just yet. But it’s one well worth considering.