The 2008 General Conference made a number of significant changes in our ordering of ministry. Lines have been blurred, some would say, between the work of Deacons, Elders, and local pastors. My response would be, “They have always been blurred!” In the UMC laity and clergy have always been sharing ministry in so many ways they are hard to keep straight. We have two kinds of Lay Speakers, 2 kinds of local pastors (the Student Local Pastor designation has been dropped), Certified Lay Ministers, Supply Pastors, Deacons, Elders, Provisional Members, and Full Members. Does it matter what our title is, or is our effectiveness more important? I think the genius of the Wesleyan Movement is a focus on effectiveness more than status.

What we need are effective lay and clergy leaders who are responsible, hardworking, and dependable. The bottom line is results! I pray for clergy and laity who will take responsibility and get the job done. The Kingdom is sorely lacking results because the laborers are few! I saw a persosn working in a hotel wearing a button with “W.I.T.” on it. I wondered what it meant so I asked. The hotel employee said it was their mission statement, “Whatever It Takes.” They wanted to remind each other that they were supposed to do whatever it took to get the job done. That’s good advice for us!

There was one particular golfer who exemplifies the need for personal responsibility, whether as an individualist or as a groupie. He had a miserable game one day. It was such a bad round that he skipped stopping at the clubhouse and went straight to his car. As he approached his car he noticed a police car with its lights flashing.

An officer stepped out of the patrol car and hurried up to the melancholy golfer. “Excuse me,” the officer started, “but did you tee off from the 16th hole about 20 minutes ago?” “Why yes, I did,” the duffer replied. “Did you happen to hook your ball, so that it went over the trees and off the course?” the trooper asked. “Yes, it was a terrible shot, but how did you know?” the club member asked.

“Well,” said the policeman very seriously, “your ball flew out onto the highway and crashed through a windshield. The car went out of control, running five other vehicles off the road and causing a fire truck to crash. That fire truck was on its way to a fire, and so that building is a complete and total loss. I want to know what you are going to do about this?” “Hmmm,” the golfer mused. “I think I need to close my stance, keep my head down and tighten my grip.”

Christ is looking for people who will get the job done. I want to be one.

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