Good and Bad Appointments
“We will probably decide to close the church during your time there.” With these “encouraging” words from my district superintendent I went to my first appointment. There were 14 people in attendance on my first Sunday- and that included my wife, our eight month old son, and me.
The parsonage was an old house with two big high-ceilinged rooms on each side of a wide hallway. There was a small kitchen, bathroom, and porch on the back of the house. No central heating or air conditioning and no furniture except a beautiful old parlor set.
The church next door was a part of a two-point circuit. It had no running water or air conditioning. The sanctuary was rustic but beautiful. There was an old hand carved pulpit from which I would preach for the next three years. The other church on the circuit was five miles away.
We did not close the church during my time there. Instead the worship attendance increased considerably. We paid 100% of our apportionments for each of the three years I served as pastor. We renovated the sanctuary, added bathrooms with running water and central heating and air conditioning. The parsonage was nicely furnished and central air conditioning was added. The two churches on the circuit had a thriving youth group and we played a key role in starting the first ever community youth baseball program.
For three years I left home at five o’clock in the morning to meet my car pool ten miles away in time for us to make our eight o’clock seminary class in Atlanta. In retrospect it would be easy to say it was a terrible appointment but it was actually a wonderful place to be. The people loved me and my family and responded to my leadership although it was terribly inadequate and inexperienced. I will always remember it as a significant time of growth and learning that was nurtured by the good people of both congregations.
Upon graduation from seminary I received a new appointment- another two point circuit with the churches fifteen miles apart and in different counties. The parsonage was a great improvement but the salary at this full-time appointment was less than what I was receiving at the student appointment. But that’s another story for another time.