Many United Methodists are concerned about General Conference’s decision to end guaranteed appointments for pastors. It will create certain challenges for bishops, but overall I support the policy change: Fewer churches are able to support full-time pastors, and a guaranteed job can make pastors complacent. And really, how many in our congregations have guaranteed jobs?
I believe a lesson from early American history is in order here. Back in the colonial days, some states funded certain denominations. The Episcopal Church was funded by Virginia. The Congregationalist Church was funded by Massachusetts. Their pastors had good job security. The Methodist pastors in early America did not have guaranteed jobs. If pastors wanted to feed their families, they had to grow their congregations or work a second job (usually both). The non-state supported churches grew and expanded, while the state supported churches declined.
Sure, this isn’t 1609, but maybe this is a blessing in disguise.