The Appointive Cabinet has completed our work, and the 2015/16 Appointments have been announced in churches yesterday. You might think that after 4 years this process is easier, but in fact the opposite is true.
Bishop Watson leads the Appointive Cabinet through a notebook the size of two Jerusalem Bibles. In this notebook is the name of every pastor and every church. We first pray over every pastor and every church. We then move down the roll from pastor to pastor, sharing their needs and desires. Bishop Watson asks questions about the family and about the ministry being done by each pastor and in each church. Then we begin to consider nominations for pastor and church. We do not throw darts or draw from a hat; we consider every need of the pastor and the church and then do our utmost to find the perfect match. It doesn't happen in one day or one week or even three weeks. It takes us a month plus to bring all this together as we listen to the voice of God's Holy Spirit.
It is a slow process. I know that many are concerned about how long this takes, but, trust me, we do our best, and we listen and share and cry and shout and work together for our United Methodist Church. Could we do this work better, faster? Perhaps, but until you are sitting around the table with the lives of your sisters and brothers and the future of the congregations anticipating a move on your heart, you will never fully understand.
I thank you for the prayers over the last few months as we worked on this very important part of our life together. I thank you for not second-guessing and for not complaining about what we accomplished. I thank you for praying for your sisters and brothers who are moving, seeking God's anointing on that place and people.
It gets harder each year, because I invest myself into the very hearts of my pastors and churches. I want the best for both. At times I think I get it, and at other times I think I have failed both. This work ,while not easy, is also not taken lightly. I'm humbled and I'm shaking in my shoes, but at the end of the process and as Bishop Watson drops the gavel on Friday at Annual Conference and fixes the appointments, I have to trust that God is bigger than all of us on the Cabinet and that God's Holy Spirit is able where we are not.
It's hard to think right now, so I'll simply pray for each of you. If you are moving, I pray for a smooth and exciting transition. If you are staying, I pray for the fresh wind of the Spirit to blow upon your ministry. Will you join me in praying?
Our God, who art in heaven ...