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


The emphasis of this General Conference had been to go along with the Council of Bishops in simplifying their ministries, presuming that would trickle down to revitalize local churches.

I’ll lay aside the theory that this was a Trojan Horse and view it as a flawed plan.

Back in 1948, a Presbyterian pastor named Humphrey Walz, working with the National Council of Churches, sketched a simple diagram outlining good planning technique.

1. Sensing a problem.

2. Getting the facts.

3. Defining the problem.

4. Having ideas.

5. Evaluating those ideas.

6. Planning.

7. Selling the plan.

8. Action.

Rev. Walz adds to his diagram the path to failure, connecting sensing a problem, having an idea, and acting, leaving out all the rest.

I contend that the bishops followed the flawed route and used some of the other aspects as cover. As a result, despite skilled selling efforts, they chose not to listen to those “on the ground” most affected by their plan. The barrage of reaction from everyone they left out of the defining of the problems and development of ideas shows the ineptness of their effort.

In addition, their definition of the problem they sensed did not include their part in it. That was the greatest weakness of The Call to Action and its clones. The Judicial Council did not let them move decision-making to where the bishops could most influence it.

Any future restructuring plan needs to have everyone at the table. Community planning techniques like “Charrette” have successfully done just that, minimizing top-down control but maintaining good order for good planning and effective outcomes.

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