Step 4 of the Bishop’s Mission Plan: “Make Mission-Field Appointments.”

As the next steps of the Bishop’s Mission plan begin to take root in the life of conference and local church leaders, Step Four: Make Mission-Field Appointments is likely to produce the most anxiety among clergy and congregations.
The Bishop’s plan allows that this step “may be one of our most challenging undertakings” that will require the Appointive Cabinet to “work harder, smarter and more prayerfully to match the right pastor with the rights gifts in the right mission field at the right time.”
In a video segment to be shared conference-wide later in March, Bishop Gary E. Mueller acknowledges the difficult task that has been set before the cabinet, and that the process of mission-field appointment-making will focus more on matching passionate pastors with congregations ready and willing to engage in their mission fields and less on trying to “keep everyone happy.”
“It means changing how we have thought about the appointment of pastors to churches,” Mueller said. “Making mission-field appointments means we look beyond the pastors and congregations to the people who do not yet know Jesus’ love.”
Executive director for mission and ministry the Rev. Mackey Yokem said that the process of making appointments in this way involves using much more information than in the past.
“Not only are a pastor’s skills being matched to mission field needs, district superintendents are looking at community demographics and the readiness of a congregation to accept new members and look beyond themselves,” he said. “All of these factors change year to year, making what appears to be a fairly simple task more complicated.”
One of the newest appointive cabinet members, Southeast District superintendent the Rev. Mark Norman, says the needs of the various mission fields have been the foundation for appointment-making since last year. He points to some cross-racial appointments made last year in his district as evidence of this focus.
“Appointments are being made out of concern for the people outside the church,” said Norman.
“We are sending pastors who can help the church reach out into the mission field, to help them know Jesus’ love and experience the transformation that God makes possible,” Mueller said.