Associates in Advocacy now has two sites on the internet. Our primary help site is at http://www.aiateam.org/. There AIA seeks to offer aid to troubled pastors, mainly those who face complaints and whose careers are on the line.

Help is also available to their advocates, their caregivers, Cabinets, and others trying to work in that context.

This site will be a blog. On it we will address issues and events that come up.

We have a point of view about ministry, personnel work, and authority. We intend to take the following very seriously:


Some of our denomination's personnel practices have real merit. Some are deeply flawed. To tell the difference, we go to these criteria to help us know the difference.

We also have a vision of what constitutes healthy leadership and authority. We believe it is in line with Scripture, up-to-date managerial practice, and law.

To our great sadness, some pastors who become part of the hierarchy of the church, particularly the Cabinet, have a vision based on their being in control as "kings of the hill," not accountable to anyone and not responsible to follow the Discipline or our faith and practice. They do not see that THE GOLDEN RULE applies to what they do.

If you are reading this, the chances are you are not that way. We hope what we say and do exemplify our own best vision and will help you fulfill yours. But we cannot just leave arrogance, incompetence, and ignorance to flourish. All of us have the responsibility to minimize those in our system.

We join you in fulfilling our individual vow of expecting to be perfect in love in this life and applying that vow to our corporate life in the United Methodist Church.

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If you have any questions or suggestions, direct them to Rev. Jerry Eckert. His e-mail address is aj_eckert@hotmail.com. His phone number is 941 743 0518. His address is 20487 Albury Drive, Port Charlotte, FL 33952.

Thank you.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Local Church Revitalization

Despite the fact the leadership of General Conference kept trying to insist everything was about local church revitalization, I found the most creative ideas came from delegates with whom I spoke.

Let me share just a few key ideas I heard. One set comes from Africa and the other from America.

A superintendent in Africa in one of the fastest growing church movements does the following:

1. On a regular basis, provide training for pastors and laity on how to evangelize. Keep it simple and repeat and prioritize it, such as meet everyone in your area, be gracious, listen to their stories, share your story, share Jesus’ story, invite them to church

2. He then visits each church once a quarter to see the pastor’s book, the listing of new members in the church.

3. In turn, he takes another pastor along with him on his travels through the district to show what is happening both as good examples and bad.

4. He includes clergy and laity from the district in decision-making for the district.

5. He asks for a small but consistent contribution for district and conference needs.

I didn’t record all his ideas but this gives you an inkling of what is happening there.

An American pastor supplements that. His philosophy is that a local church cannot have too much to do. His approach is to learn what each new member has a passion for and then plugs them into an existing group or starts a new one where that passion can be expressed. He said this is how sanctification occurs and channels the gifts church people have into a positive direction.

I found these two fundamental approaches something I really appreciated, in line what I have always thought and what I tried to do. I had just not heard them described this way.

Simple descriptions are just what we need to give us a pull in the right direction.

1 comment:

DeeatCaz said...

This description reminds me so much of our little church in Janesville and all that you tried to do there. I have often used this example when describing what a healthy, robust church should look like.