Back in the Saddle & Fireworks – The Life of a DS


The fireworks have started. Maybe not as spectacular as over Lake Manawa last week, but they’re real. I’m feeling back in the saddle as a District Superintendent today – juggling phone calls and drop-by visits from pastors and laity; getting ready to teach “United Methodism 101” at Laity Convocation this weekend; and preparing agendas as Cabinet Secretary for the Appointive Cabinet and Extended Cabinet. There have been back and forth emails and contacts with the conference lawyer. Oh, what fun. Mostly, yeah, being a DS is cool. You get to connect the local church with the general church and put a face and voice to people’s concerns. Things range from church building decisions, to “We can’t afford to pay our preacher!” and “Guess how many new members we had join last week!” Then there’s the in-between stuff.

You know, the in-between stuff; ambiguous, not sure if it’s good or bad, just stuff and somebody’s got to do it. Par. 423.13 has become all too familiar as I begin my 5th year as a DS. It basically says I have the responsibility to decide all questions about churches in the Columbia District, subject to an appeal to the Bishop. Whew! I’m thinking right now about Rev. James Alewine, the best DS I ever had. There were other great ones, too, but he was there when I was serving in my most difficult church. He was my therapist, confidante, friend, and encourager. He has been my role model ever since, but I ain’t even close, but I’m trying.

We all have to deal with well or ill-intentioned dragons and some are church members and some are clergy. We shouldn’t be surprised. There’s nothing original about Original Sin. So we trust the Lord and His grace as we deal with all kinds of people trying to live the Golden Rule and the adage from Kairos Prison Ministry: “Listen, Listen; Love, Love.” With my new hearing aids I have no excuse to really hearing others. The proof will be in the relationships. If you listen to people, even the dragons, then Jesus is on your side.

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