4 Steps, 5 Principles, 6 Practices

4-Steps to Making Appointments

  1. Preparation for making effective appointments is essential. Preparation begins in November with each superintendent reviewing all appointments, congregations, retirements, strategies, opportunities and challenges. The superintendent prepares a report that will guide their leadership for the district for the coming year. The superintendent meets with the bishop to go over their plans for the coming year and the open churches, and to determine where new appointments may need to occur to further the mission.
  2. Consultation is a year-long process with both churches and clergy to understand their strengths, needs, challenges and opportunities. Consultation takes many forms and uses the following tools: charge conference meetings; statistical reports; consultations with congregations and clergy; evaluations; one-to-one conversations with clergy; and appointment advisory recommendations.
  3. Assessment of how well a pastor is leading and a congregation is engaged in the mission (listed above) to determine the best appointments for the mission. For each appointment consideration, the tools listed within consultation are reviewed, particularly looking at the health and vitality of the congregation and a clergy person’s track record for leading toward health and vitality.
  4. Discernment uses the information from the first three steps and adds spending time in worship, prayer, evaluative conversation and deep listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is both science, the study of the information available to us, and spiritual wisdom, listening for God’s guidance.

Here I am, send me.

5-Principles for Appointment Making

  1. Mission is the priority. Tenure, status and context are all important; and mission, as described above, rises above all of these.
  2. Forthright conversation between pastor and superintendent, congregation and superintendent, superintendent and bishop, and superintendent with other superintendents are essential to good appointments. Forthright conversation is not argumentative or shaming, but honest dialogue about the mission.
  3. Collaboration among the superintendents to make the best appointments for the whole of the EPA mission over a single situation or district.
  4. Confidentiality, not to be confused with secrecy, is not sharing information that is personal, personnel related, may hurt another person or undermine the mission.
  5. Deep listening is the recognition that the Holy Spirit often whispers, so that using times of silence and listening, rather than preparing to share, opens up to the Holy Spirit speaking in and through one another.

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  1. We will work with and support congregations and clergy through conflict. Conflict is necessary to move the mission forward. Conflict is two ideas trying to occupy the same space at the same time. Levels 1 and 2 conflict are appropriate. Levels 3, 4, and 5 conflict need outside support to assist the pastor and congregation to work through the conflict. To understand how EPA works through conflict, you may select this link. This is already in place.
  2. More orientation, training and support for cross racial/cross cultural appointments. EPA is diverse ethnically, racially, contextually, in gender, theologically and geographically. These appointments are the norm. Differences may be the presenting issue; but the deeper issue is being Christ-like in the midst of diversity. Deepening our existing training, coaching and consultation will be worked on during 2022 for more complete engagement in 2023.
  3. Coaching to support clergy development and leading through challenging contexts. We tend to use training as a means to develop people. Training is providing information which is important. Development is coaching and supporting people to use the information effectively. Superintendents and others will receive coaching training to coach pastors and key leaders to lead their congregations to further the mission. This will begin the fall of 2022.
  4. Clergy stay 7 or more years in an appointment. Research of all U.S. congregations in 2009 showed that the most progress made toward the mission occurred when a pastor was leading well and leading for seven or more years. Seven or more years is a goal, not a guarantee. Each appointment will be looked at to extend the mission with a commitment for clergy to serve seven or more years. This is effective as of this appointment season.
  5. Improvement plans rather than moving plans. Clergy dissatisfaction with an appointment or a congregation’s dissatisfaction with a pastor have often led to appointment changes. Appointment changes may need to occur from time to time. But when dissatisfaction with the appointment is the issue, the first step is a 30-60-90-day improvement plan. Plans will be developed, monitored and evaluated. When effectiveness issues arise and there is inability or unwillingness to address the issues, either by the congregation or the pastor, the matter will be referred to the Board of Ordained Ministry or the cabinet for appropriate next steps. This policy is effective as of this appointment season.
  6. Clergy may offer themselves to be considered for an open appointment. This will be an additional piece of information to be included along with all of the other information considered listed under the first three steps of 4-5-6 Appointment Making. It is not a requirement, but it can assist in the discernment process. Clergy must send an email to their superintendent stating the missional reasons why they may be a good fit for this appointment. The message must be received 24 hours prior to the cabinet considering the appointment (received by Monday, 9:00 a.m., because the cabinet meets to make appointments on Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m.).

Here I am, send me.