Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Honey, shouldn't we be packing?

This week, I officially begin my fourth year under appointment at University United Methodist Church, San Antonio. I am really excited that I get to continue my ministry here but it feels a little strange. Although I worked part time on staff first, my clergy appointment at Oak Hill in Austin only lasted two years. I spent the next three years in Corpus Christi at Grace before being appointed here at University. For the first time moving into year four, we are actually started to get settled in.

Thinking back, this might be the longest I have lived in the same house since I was 17. When I first felt called to ministry, I was warned that one of the hardest things was itineracy - that pastors under the authority of the bishop can be and are moved from place to place on a regular basis. I asked "how often?" The answer was - usually only as often as every three years and sometimes pastors stayed in the same place for decades. I said, "Sounds like stability to me." Now the radio business, that is itinerant. I just pulled up my resume from my days in radio. From 1991 to 2001 (when I left the business) I worked for six radio stations and one programming company. That included living in one village, one borough and three cities and stretched across three states. In that time, I lived in (about) eight different houses/apartment/rooms, etc. So, just saying, this all feels kind of stable.

Without stirring an entire debate about the value and cost of itinerant ministry, let me just say, as a pastor, there are pros to staying and pros to moving. Right now, staying seems to hold a lot of value. University UMC is a large, complex church. It took me a couple of years just to find my way around. I think it tool me longer to hit my stride here than it has in other churches. I also hit the ground here with a big project before me: The Pathway to Discipleship. It took most of the first couple of years to really get it launched and we have much work still to do.

This is all a long way of saying thank you to Bishop Dorff for seeing fit to appointment me to University for another year and thank you to University for agreeing to keep me.


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