Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Is the District Superintendency Reserved for the Least Effective Clergy?

Rev. J speculates to that effect. It would certainly be the Dilbert Principle at work. Do I agree? No, I'm not that cynical about the United Methodist Church. Not yet, at least.

HT: David Hallum


United Method said...

Funny story that seems appropriate here.

When I went for my psych eval eons ago, I sat down and the guy started writing on a notebook. He'd ask random questions but never really look up from his pad as he wrote. Once he asked "So what do you think of upward mobility in the Methodist Church?" I jokingly replied, "Well I hear all the District Superintendents can't preach so maybe I'll be there some day." He didn't flinch. Just kept writing. Well...the very first line of my psych eval said "Jack feels District Superintendents can't preach. Problem with authority." And of course, I didn't find that out until I was sitting between two DS's at a meeting determining my own effectiveness.

So I think I agree in part. There are DS's (none of my current ones of course) chosen because they can't preach. But I'm sure there are some chosen because they are great administrators. Thankfully, there are lots of other talents to measure one's effectiveness with, but you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the job of the DS. I don't want it.

If there are people with the gifts to do that job, I am grateful.

John said...

Me neither. Who wants to handle the media calls when a pastor gets arrested for child abuse?

I always figured that DSs simply drew the short straw.

Richard Hall said...

How does it help the church to rubbish the leadership in a blog? I reckon those who self-identify as 'Methodist bloggers' have a responsibility to our church, the more so if we present ourselves as preachers and pastors. It doesn't mean we have to be part of some propaganda machine for the church, but we do have a duty of care towards it. How does it help the church to consistently blog about how the leaders are idiots or worse and the church probably won't exist in 20 years time? How does that encourage the faithful, still less commend the church to outsiders?

I wouldn't deny that there are some in positions of responsibility at every level who probably shouldn't be, but to make sweeping generalisations about DS's, or ministers, or anyone else is pointless and destructive.

If there are issues to resolve within a church's structures, a few self-righteous blog posts are not likely to be much help.

United Method said...

amen to that, richard! (I mean the whole whiny attitude that pastors are prone to when it comes to church leadership) I would guess from some of the blogs I read that underneath this storm in a teacup is a sincere desire to make our church better. But yes, please do remind us of the joys, sacrifices, and overall wealth of knowledge and help our "overseers" can be.

In the off chance that you come back and read this comment (I do hope you will) let me back up past the current question...perhaps you could share your experiences? In a positive way...of course.

But to go past the question, yeah, well, I'm hesitant to make generalizations, but here goes - pastors (and DS's by extension) are called by God and can be used by God. Definitely a high calling! And I pray God will bless their ministry and support them. I hope I can be a part of that support.

Of course, if we do happen to see each other in some forum other than this, I'd love to rephrase the question with you. Maybe we could say, "How can the church support the leadership and still hold them accountable at the same time?

Dr. Tony said...

(I thought this, or a version of it, got posted but apparently it did not.)

I don't think that the least effective clergy get moved up; rather, I think it is the more effective ones that get moved up.

It is, if you will, one aspect of the "Peter Principle". We think that because someone is good at what they do, they will make good administrators. Sadly, that is not always the case.

The D.S. is more administrative than it is pastoral, even though the D.S. is the pastor to the pastors. The hard problem is finding someone who has good administrative skills and is willing to take on the task.