Bishop Willimon announced that this year the Cabinet will work to improve the process of appointing and moving pastors.
"We have learned that we need longer pastorates. We don't want to cheat a pastor or congregation of their most productive years by a premature pastoral change. The Cabinet and I have as our responsibility, not the regular moving of pastors, but to do everything we can to help pastors to be effective in fulfilling the conference vision and our four missional priorities," Bishop Willimon commented.
"Our major consideration is the mission needs of the congregation. We will do a more effective job in matching pastors to the leadership needs of the congregation not simply moving pastors," he adds.
Willimon also explained some changes that the Cabinet will make this spring in order to improve the process. "Dean of the Cabinet Hal Noble has constructed a new process for appointment making. When a church and pastor indicate that a move should be considered by the Cabinet, a group of three District Superintendents will conduct an interview with the pastor to discern what the pastor has done at his or her present appointment; and to identify particular, demonstrated leadership skills that God has given the pastor. We shall also examine the pastor's Covenant of Shared Ministry and the pastor's six-year record. This will enable more than one District Superintendent to help in the process of appointment and will also stress the pastor's actual fruits of ministry."
Bishop Willimon said that a number of consultants have examined the past appointment processes and have pointed out needs for revision. "We have been told that our previous stress on seniority distracted us from attentiveness to actual results of leadership and attentiveness to the results of a pastor's particular gifts for leadership. We hope to do a better job of matching pastors with the missional needs of congregations."