Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ramblings from Annual Conference

I have been spending the week at Brentwood UMC at the Tennessee Annual Conference. This is my second Annual Conference and it is about the same as the first one...boring. I shudder to think that I will have to go to this every year for the rest of my career if not the rest of my life. Some of my friends from Vanderbilt were commissioned as probationary elders (the first step to ordination) and some were deferred. I don't understand why the some were accepted and others declined. I am frustrated with the system that is the Board of Ordained Ministry in the the Tennessee Conference. I can't get a license to preach because of my weight and yet there are pastors who couldn't find their way out of a paper bag without a map. The Conference Board is going to make the process so difficult that no one will be willing to deal with it. I can go to another denomination and be ordained a lot easier than at the UMC. I am loyal to the UMC, I agree with the Wesleyan theology, but I am frustrated with the red tape and bureaucracy within the system.

The UMC has been declining for the last 30 years. Most people who attend the UMC do so because they grew up in the UMC. The UMC cannot seem to compete with the non-denominational churches that preach prosperity. I think that we are so wrapped up in ourselves and our "polity", "standing rules", etc. that we forget about going out into the world an help people. We spend so much time, money, and energy trying to fulfill our political responsibilities that we often forget about doing the work of the Church.

Another problem, I do not know if this is a problem within other conferences (i suspect so)
but out of around 1200 delegates there are maybe 100 people under the age of 30 there (I think I am being generous). Most of the people there are 50 and older which is all fine and well, but... these are also the people (and I know I am making a sweeping generalization here) that don't really like change and don't like voting young people 35 and younger to leadership positions. So we get the same delegates and people in the same positions year after year and ergo nothing new happens. The reports are boring and some of those who give reports try to be cute to liven things up and all it does is make it stupid. Just read the report as quickly and succinctly as possible and sit down. Anyway I am tired...more to come.

1 comment:

gavin richardson said...

it was pretty boring for sure. was somewhat upset that i had ideas of being elected to gc or jc. oh well, i fell into that under 35 category.

not sure why, but the bom has been tough to the younger folks seeking ordination. which is funny cause then they turn and tell how they need younger clergy.