It's time to Reload!greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
The other day during the opening worship service of the Illinois Conference, Bishop Cousin, while introducing the young pastor of Bethel Bloomington,relayed to the conference what was stated to him from some young baptist ministers. They stated to Bishop Cousin that the AME Church once had it, in terms of members and vibrance in worship (during the 50's and 60's)...but somehow lost it! In their opinion, ministers were more interested in seeking a higher office than to tending the flock. Bishop Cousin replied to these young men that "the AME church is not dead...it is simply reloading!" The church was on fire and the brother (Rev. Nathan Dixon) preached! A young minister, fresh from seminary...ready to serve! There is a great deal one can learn from both perspectives. First, it is time to prepare to plug some holes with committed shepherds. Second, it is time to reemphasize the importance of tending the flock. I have witnessed numerous persons run for various church related offices, expending energy and spending finances. Sadly, I have watched this mode of ministry of "running while trying to pastor" take their toil on the candidate and the flock! Imagine if we could spend as much time, not to mention money, focused on the flock...man that would be reloading! It is time to reload by rediscovering the joy of ministry, and the call to committment to shepherd the flock! Not every minister can be a bishop, general officer or presiding elder. However, every minister can be an excellent pastor by seeking God and His Kingdom...first! It is an honor to be a servant of the Lord! We are not dead, we are just reloading!
-- Anonymous, September 20, 2002
Ray thanks for your insight! I am new to our denomination and I am having a ball doing ministry. At my first annual conference in 2001, one of the things I found very odd were all the discussions clergy were having about being promoted. I had no idea what they were talking about. I must admit I first thought "gee a lot of their pastors are dying!" because to me when I hear a pastor is being promoted it means going to heaven. I am an ex- United Methodist minister and grew up as a United Methodist so I never heard the language "of being Promoted" In the UMC Six months before annual conference you met with your District Superintendent (P.E)and discussed your next appointment and you knew if you were going to be moved then. I personally love the appointment method and for me as a pastor it is a privilege to serve God where he needs me. I will receive my promotion at death. That is why church planting and rural ministry for me is the greatest ministry I have ever had!! I will not use the terms "promotion" around my congregation for if I am moved I do not want my congregation to think THEY are inferior. They do know that Bishop Bryant can move me. I am very, very blessed in that I have a Bishop who knows my faith journey, knows my strengths and weaknesses and trust me to do the type of ministry I am doing. It will take years to re-establish a continuous ministry in Montana, with pastors who are here because they want to be here I am one of those pastors. My daughter who is 25 will be a local pastor soon. She is also the co-founder of our church. She made me cry last year. We are planting another A.M.E Church in Missoula, Montana. 4 hours away over two mountain passes, 100,000 people. She said "Mom I will move to Missoula if you need me to help the new church" I just cried!!! She has her own business in our town. But she is willing to put God first. Ray I received my alumni magazine from my seminary Princeton Seminary and in it, it said only 40 percent of those who graduated from seminary wanted to go into pastoral ministry. When I graduated 10 years ago 80 percent wanted to go into pastoral ministry. Your Bishop is right we do need to reload, we also need to share the joy of ministry and help young people discern their call to serve. God Bless
-- Anonymous, September 20, 2002
I am like a dog with a bone. I just don't let go until I have all the information. All week Ray's post has been on my mind. It was something in the post that said baptist ministers said that in the 50's and 60's the A.M.E Church was vibrant and had the numbers. To those on the board did we have more members back then and did things seem more vibrant? The civil rights movement was happening during that time, Black Pride was happening at that time also. I am new to our denomination. Was there a time in our recent history that our denomination seemed more "vibrant" and if so why? Just for the record I think we are a very vibrant denomination. Look at all of you!
-- Anonymous, September 25, 2002