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

May 1 - Making Apostles

Ben Godsden in UM-Insight (http://um-insight.net/blogs/ben-gosden/the-danger-of-unasked-questions/page-2.html) challenges the lack of definition of the catch phrase “Making Disciples for the Transformation of the World” which is the stated goal of our denomination. I had to respond and did so with the following comment (typos corrected this time):

Making Apostles

I was a disciple in Sunday school. And, given our understanding of education as being a life long endeavor, I am still a disciple.

But I had to enter the adult world. And, thanks to some wonderful Sunday School teachers and leaders at Wesley Foundation when I got to college, I realized that I also needed to be an apostle.

There's a huge difference.

Whether or not I had a lot of gifts and graces, Jesus called me to use them as a means of showing God's love. Transforming the world would take care of itself because that was God's job. Mine was to be His/Her missionary wherever I was.

I've tried to do that by helping in the church because the local church is where fellow disciples and apostles met regularly to upbuild one another. I tried to be a good worker in my various part-time and summer jobs while I was in school. I tried to be a good neighbor. I tried to help on mission projects set up by the church. I tried to do that as a student. Then I got to try it in my vocation, which happened to be as a pastor in the United Methodist Church. I've tried to do it by working with other churches' pastors, by teaching confirmands and giving them mission opportunities, by setting up local church ministries to the city's hospital, county jail, etc., by helping pastors and laity in trouble with the denomination's administrative and judicial processes, and by using legislative and judicial options open to an individual to help move our denomination in directions I thought consistent with a Christian apostle's mission.

In retirement, I have had to focus declining energies and gifts, but I hope you see me hanging in there for a few more years.

Making disciples is not aiming high enough. Making apostles, turning loose God's people to be missionaries where they are and where God takes them, would be a better description of what the church actually does when it follows the Spirit.

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