Let me be clear and up front: I haven’t thought this through, and am thinking as I type. Probably not the best way to go.
But I think one way to really shape our clergy (myself included) is to stop guaranteeing appointments when ordained. Now, I speak in very broad and general terms, but what happens when we get guaranteed appointments or tenure, there’s a chance that we slip into being comfortable and content with what we have and who we are. That’s never bad, but that’s not good either. As Francis Chan wrote, the Holy Spirit is often called the “Comforter” so why would we need a comforter when we are already comfortable?
I say this as I now see that there is no hope at all for my Redskins this season. All I can hope for is to get a high draft pick and we don’t screw that up either. (And believe me, we can). The problem begin in 1999 when Dan Snyder bought the team. (And yes, I’m going to blame everything on him.) He thought the best way to win was to pay big named players big money to come play for the ‘Skins. So at one point, you had washed up Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith earning lots and lots of money. The thing about sports is, when it’s a contract year (meaning the player is looking to sign a contract after the season) the player plays his mind out so that he can earn his money. What happens often (not always) is that after the player gets his money, he coasts again, until it’s time to renegotiate his contract. Honestly, if I just signed a 100 million dollar contract, sure I’d be frustrated in having a 3-8 record, but hey, I’m gettin’ paid (yes, Mr. Haynesworth. I’m talking to you. How many sacks have you had this season?)
I think the scare of not knowing what may be next is healthy for us. I think it forces us to be creative and prevents us from being comfortable and ineffective. (Of course, that’s idealistically speaking).
Maybe I’m totally wrong. But at the rate of our decline, a lot of people looking for ordination now have to deal with this, because there are more clergy than there are churches.
And of course, ineffectiveness is a judgmental word to be throwing around, but to create change, there must be a sense of urgency. And sadly, that sense of urgency comes a bit too late for many of our churches and clergy.
What say you?
What would the appointment system look like if there were no longer guaranteed appointments?
Would our polity change drastically?
Would the attitude of clergy change?
Or would this change nothing, but only increase insecurity, distrust and corruption?