Clergy Leading The Way To Help Clergy

Yep, I'm a church planter and today was a clergy meeting. Clergy meetings always help to remind me I'm more comfortable in the back of the room cutting up than anywhere else. Most church planters tend to have some rebellious streaks running through them. Considering the alternatives, seems to me sitting in the back is a fair trade off.

Today's topic however was more relevant than usual. It was more pertinent than other things in the past. In the end, it was a meeting regarding justice.

Say what you want about the United Methodist Church, but there are incredible moments where it is just right on and we step forward where others do not choose to tread. Dealing with the Central Conference Pensions is one and of course no one wants to talk about money.

But this isn't about money after all - it is an issue of justice. Today, we got the stat that said the denominational average compensation is coming in at $58,226. That is right on with the NY Times report on average salaries which came in at $58,029. In the 7 Central Conferences of the UMC that exist outside the U.S., none are close to this and few of the those conferences have been able to provide for a pension to help those pastors in retirement.

Through the Central Conference Pension Initiative, the UMC is seeking to change that. Today, Bishop Mike Watson, put the challenge to our full-time pastors to step up and make a 3 year commitment to help. It starts with us and it goes back to code of priests: "...you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. (Lev. 19:18)"

The pastors in the Central Conferences consistently have spoken of five things that would be priorities. The first is always food and the other four are mixed. But many said they want to be able to give 10% back to their church. That is KINGDOM MINDED!

I wrote the first check from our family today...it was a reminder for me of our mission of Crossroads UMC: to help people connect, follow and become disciples of Jesus Christ one loving act at a time. Can we afford it? Technically - no. Our budget is set. So come what may, we'll go after excess spending where it still exists and trust God to provide above and beyond.

I encourage you to visit the CCPI and learn what it is all about and how you can make a difference.

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