Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Matthew 28:18-20.

When I was an American Baptist pastor, a search committee would contact me. If I were interested in serving that church, I’d send them a resumé. After they studied my resumé, they’d set up an interview with me, hear me preach at a neutral location, have me come to the church to preach a trial sermon, and then have the church vote on whether to call me to serve as their pastor. I went through that process four times and, as a result, had the privilege of being called to serve four different ABC churches from 1978 to 1994.

When I became a United Methodist pastor in 1994, I agreed to go wherever the bishop sent me. United Methodist pastors are sent, not called. We are appointed by the bishop, not hired by the church. The bishop’s concern is not just for one church to have the right pastor but for all the churches in the conference to have the right pastors. So, the bishop meets several times over months with the district superintendents in careful study and prayer to match as much as possible the gifts and graces of the particular pastor with the ministry needs of a particular congregation or ministry setting. Over the past thirty years, I’ve been appointed to five UMC congregations.

I’ve experienced God’s grace in the “called” and “appointive” systems and in all the congregations I’ve served. I have complete confidence that God is going to send the right pastor to FUMC. Let’s be in prayer for her or him, for FUMC, and for the congregation, she/he will leave as we prepare for this transition.

Dr. Sam