Tell us about: Sacraments in Ministry

¶324.9.p:  Explain the role and significance of the sacraments in the ministry to which you have been called.

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Tell us about: Being Christ’s Witness in the World

324.9.o:  You have agreed as a candidate for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world and the most effective witness to the gospel, and in consideration of their influence as ministers, to make a complete dedication of yourself to the highest ideals of the Christian life, and to this end agree to exercise responsible self-control by personal habits conducive to bodily health, mental and emotional maturity, integrity in all personal relationships, fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness, social responsibility, and growth in grace and the knowledge and love of God. What is your understanding of this agreement?

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Tell us about: Being Inclusive

You will find and introduction to my BOM theological paperwork here: Doctrinal Exam

 

¶324.9.n:  Describe your understanding of an inclusive church and ministry.

The world is constantly telling us we are not enough, we do not own the right shoes, or drive the right car; we do not have enough Facebook friends or Twitter followers. An inclusive church says the world is wrong.  As United Methodists, we invite all to the table because we know it is God’s table not ours. When I look someone in the eye, hand them a small bite of bread and say “The body of Christ given for you,” I am reminding them that they are already enough. They do not need better shoes or more Facebook friends; they are already a beloved child of God. When I hand someone a small cup of juice, and say “The blood of Christ given for you,” I am saying, “Someone loves you enough to die for you.” If our story tells us that Adam and Eve hid from God because they were afraid they were not good enough, then the inclusive church lives out of the belief that every human being is loved by God and offered God’s grace, no matter their economic, physical, social, political, or emotional location.

 

An inclusive church lives out of that belief by removing barriers that prevent people from experiencing God’s love. We enable all persons to participate in the spiritual life of the church by providing space for worship and community. We provide emotional space, a place of healing, and honoring every person for who they are. We provide the physical space for people by providing accessible worship space to all peoples. An inclusive church is open, accepting, and supporting of all people.

 

I believe an inclusive church is welcoming but more than that, I believe an inclusive church is always reaching out beyond its walls. An inclusive church is one in which the members pass by a homeless person sleeping on a park bench and see a human being. An inclusive church is one in which the members sit with disadvantaged children to help them learn to read; where holding the door for someone, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or economic struggles, is second nature; a church whose members gather to feed homeless teenagers, make blankets for kids pulled from their home, and get to know names of less fortunate people in their neighborhood…that is an inclusive church.

Tell us about: Ordination

¶324.9.m:  What is the meaning of ordination in the context of the general ministry of the Church?

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Tell us about: Diakonia

¶324.9.l:  Describe your understanding of diakonia, the servant ministry of the church, and the servant ministry of the provisional member.

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Tell us about: Tiffany

¶324.9.k:  How do you perceive yourself, your gifts, your motives, your role, and your commitment as a provisional member and commissioned minister in The United Methodist Church?

Continue reading Tell us about: Tiffany

Tell us about: United Methodist Polity

You will find and introduction to my BOM theological paperwork here: Doctrinal Exam

¶324.9.j:  Discuss your understanding of the primary characteristics of United Methodist polity.

The primary characteristic of United Methodist polity is connectionalism. We are connected globally, through our history, and the way in which we share authority. We are a globally connected denomination, “We are a worldwide denomination united by doctrine, discipline, and mission through our connectional covenant.”[1] The General Conference, which has “full legislative power over all matters distinctively connectional” is re-created every four years.[2] Laity and pastors from around the world come together at the General Conference, officiated by Bishops, to determine the content of the Book of Discipline, the governing document of the United Methodist Church. The General Conference shapes the Book of Discipline which regulates the organization of local churches, annual conferences, and general agencies. It also determines the policies regarding church membership, ordination, administration, property and judicial procedures.[3] This is the only official voice of The United Methodist Church.

We are connectional through our shared history. The Book of Discipline was determined by the General Conference, which was determined by the one before them, and the one before them, to the beginning of Methodism, always reflecting the traditions of the church and the changing diversity of the body. The Book of Discipline has come out of this long line of governing documents created by United Methodists, Evangelical United Brethren, Methodists, even John Wesley himself. We are connected to those that came before us; we do not stand without John Wesley, Bishops Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke, the congregations that chose segregation, nor those that chose integration. We remain rooted in our history, we stand on the shoulders of those that came before us, acknowledging the imperfect choices they have made, and the powerful legacy they have left us.

We are connectional in that authority does not lie with one person, at one point in time, or even within one consistent body. The connectional structure of the United Methodist Church means that no single entity holds a disproportionate amount of power over the church. Although we have Bishops, they are not ordained bishops but elected by jurisdictional conferences, they oversee the General Conference but do not vote, and they appoint clergy but do not select who is ordained and who is not. Ordained clergy are appointed by Bishops in our iterant system, they are members of Annual Conferences rather than a local church, and are guided by the local Staff Parish Relations Committee made up of laity. Laity votes at the General Conference, Annual Conference, and Church Conference, sit on committees and boards, and support the church in its mission. There is not one person, or committee with uneven power in the United Methodist Church. The General Conference which creates the Book of Discipline is made up of laity and clergy from all around the world.  We are truly a connectional denomination.

[1] BOD, ¶101

[2] BOD, ¶16

[3] UMC.ORG – http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.8038525/k.D58F/How_General_Conference_Works.htm