This Sunday will be my first Sunday as an elder in the Global Methodist Church. My church will also be celebrating their first Sunday in the Global Methodist Church. This is an unofficial order I made for the occasion. At the conclusion of our service we will read through a Litany of New Beginnings/Renewal of Baptism and Membership by Rev. Dr. Tesia Mallory.

Friends and Family of ___________ Church, today we are happy to recognize that our pastor, ____________, has been appointed by the Global Methodist church to serve as our pastor.

_________ , you have been sent to live in our community as a shepherd for God’s Kingdom to help us hear the voice of God through the scriptures, our church tradition, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

As our pastor you are “responsible for ensuring that members are cared for by implementing a discipleship process focused on helping members to “go on to perfection” by loving God with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength, and by loving their neighbor as themselves. [You] are charged with equipping all the members of a congregation to be in ministry by meeting people at their point of need and offering them Jesus.”1

Pastor __________, do you reaffirm your commitment to ministry to follow God and lead the _______________ Church?

Pastor: Today, I affirm my commitment to serve ____________ Church by God’s grace and to the best of my ability.

Church, do you affirm your commitment to support Pastor _________ as he/she guides us, by God’s grace, “to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.”2

If you do say we will.

Congregation: We will.

Church, today we are also happy to announce that Pastor _________ has been recognized as an elder in full connection with the Global Methodist Church.

“Elders are clergy members in full connection of the annual conference with full voice and vote on all matters.”3 

“Elders are ordained to oversee the Sacramental life of the church and thus have full authority to preside at celebrations of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.”4

“Those called to the ministry of elder bear authority and responsibility to proclaim God’s Word fearlessly, to teach God’s people faithfully, to administer the sacraments, and to order the life of the church so that it may be both faithful and fruitful.”5

__________ , we thank you for submitting your life to this calling in the Global Methodist Church. 

Church, we are going to ask pastor __________ to kneel at the altar and we ask those who wish to come forward, lay hands on _________ , and pray with us.

Father of grace, power, and calling, we thank you for all of the servant leaders we have had at Glen_____________ and the calling you have on his/her life.

God, would you pour out your blessing on him/her, Father, so that he/she may preach the good news to all people. Would you sustain him/her in the process of ministering to those in our community. Would you protect him/her, guide him/her, and lead him/her into a deeper relationship with you. May all of his/her ministry be an overflow of his/her ever deepening relationship with you. May we, as his community, support, encourage, correct, and guide him/her by your grace also, in Jesus name, Amen.

***

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1 The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline paragraph 322 p. 29 (Ephesians 4:11-13).

2The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline preface page 2

3The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline paragraph 410 page 57

4The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline paragraph 313 page 26

5The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline Paragraph 403 page 51

Fiddler (on the floor) with the team.

This past weekend I had an opportunity, along with a few of my church members, to attend a Spirit and Truth training event at Metter United Methodist Church (Metter, GA).

Spirit and Truth is “a movement of Wesleyan-minded Christians seeking to awaken and equip the 21st century church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to share the Gospel and make disciples of Jesus Christ.”

We attended one of a several day renewal conference they were leading. The teaching that day was focused on evangelism and prayer. We had great leading and instruction from their team. We heard from Matt Reyonolds, president, Maggie Ulmer, director of education, and Tony Miltenberger, director of leadership and discipleship. There was great worship led by United Theological Seminary Chapel Dean, Tesia Mallory. It was a delight to meet Emma Winchester, the administrative coordinator who helped the day run smoothly.

After one of our exercises we had time to debrief. Metter United Methodist Pastor, Allen Cason, said something profound. He talked about what we, the church, need to do is “simple and beautiful.” 

So often we try to come up with the perfect scheme on a white board or power point presentation (and I do love those). However, this weekend was a reminder how our means of God’s grace such as scripture, prayer, worship, and evangelism are sufficient enough for effective and fruitful ministry.

I can not recommend Spirit and Truth highly enough to come to your church or retreat. I only have one request: Let me know about it so I can come.

Is it Really a Divorce?

August 22, 2022

Recently, a well known retired bishop, who has a talent for spicy writing, published an article lamenting a “divorce” in a protestant mainline denomination. In fact, divorce was used over 9 times in the article.

I understand when denominations break apart it can be very difficult. Individuals and churches have to make difficult decisions for many nuanced and individual reasons. Everyone is free to and has their own autonomy to label these seasons in ways they see fit.

However, I would caution on using the most inflammatory language you can think of to describe the situations. As a child of divorce, I find it to be a wildly inaccurate description of what is happening. When two people enter into the covenant of marriage they are making a lifelong commitment.

In the protestant church (Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and more) realignment is a predictable and expected event to happen.

Heartbreaking? Yes, of course it is!

I just hope we can make this season more civil by toning down the language where we can. Let’s elevate the conversation and add value to the discussion!