In the The United Methodist Church, ordained pastors must commit to the itinerant system. Nearly three years ago, just before we moved to Clearfield to assume new ministry appointments, I reflected on The Itinerant System of the UMC (i.e., pastors are appointed to congregations as opposed to being called by congregations).
Christian theology has historically spoken of the missions (missio= ‘to send’) of the Trinity, the way that God the Father sends the Son into the world, the way that God the Father and the Son continually send the Holy Spirit into the world to continue God’s creation and redemption of the world, and the way that the Holy Spirit was upon Jesus to preach deliverance to the captives (Luke 4). Thus Methodists, so impressed by the active work of the Holy Spirit, have traditionally practiced a ‘sent’ ministry. Our pastors are not called by individual congregations but rather sent out, appointed to congregations where it has been deemed that they are most needed. A God who is constantly out making moves on the world produces a church and a ministry who are sent. (21-22)
While there are blessings and challenges of any kind of system, including the itinerancy, I love the idea of a sent ministry and a sent church. It reminds me of Missional Church, a book we read while we were at Asbury. I reviewed the book in 2009.
Question: Whether your vocation in life is in the church or in the workplace, do you see yourself as one who is sent by God on mission in the world?