Being a Pastor in the United Methodist Church Sucks Right Now



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Nope, nobody is listening

Dear Pastor Truth-Teller,
I'm reading this in 2020 after the general election but I understand the context of your writing. No, clearly no one is listening. Exactly as you describe, your audience is quibbling about "fuck" and "gay" and "resurrection" instead of hearing your plea for a direction toward mercy and justice and inclusiveness. No, the church isn't going to hell because of gay people (if so, somebody's God is too small). Life in the UMC hasn't quite gotten better yet, as a matter of fact it got democratically even more hurtful. What's the point? The point is to meet people where they are and enfold them in the love that God has for each one. Not to drag them over some finish line of doctrine. Too many in our churches are attending (even through Zoom, nowadays) in order to get a weekly dose of "Good Job!" saith the Lord rather than a dose of "Go tell more people how much I love them!"
By this date, two years or more after the original post, I hope someone has heard you, encouraged you, re-energized you, and shown you the fruit of your labor. It still sucks, but I thin you're on the right track.

A Perrone 330 days ago

Pastor Snowflake

Thank you for your candor in identifying a major weakness in the UMC and calling out its leaders on it. Unlike others, I refuse to shoot the messenger by diverting attention away from the issues by focusing on language selection. That is neither here nor there given the scope of the UMC's habit of avoiding the real issues. I am a former UMC elder having left the denomination 14 years ago. I got tired of playing the game and living as the congregation's and cabinet's whipping boy. Here's hoping you can find resolution and peace in the midst of the storm. I was not convinced I ever would. It took getting out for me to find it again.

Mark Riley (1992-2005) more than 2 years ago


Unfortunately the problem withe the church is that Jesus has left the building,as He was requested to do so by the liberal theology being passed off as great learning. If the members read the word of God and asked for the holy spirit's guidance to understand and walk with Christ in his presence defying the world and it's advanced learning then maybe the Church could get out of the ditch it has run into. Maybe then the joy would return to those serving. God bless and help each one of us.

Bob Edwards more than 2 years ago

Jumping into the hot water

I am beginning the process of answering a call to ministry taking the Licensed Local Pastor route. Snowflake is frustrated with good reason. The language is not off putting (although not my style) nor the doubts about resurrection. I feel sorrow that he is she is suffering from burnout. Having just retired from teaching high school—I know it’s real. Let’s pray that a renewed energy becomes available to this wounded follower. We still preach grace don’t we?

Bob Helvey more than 2 years ago

Dear Pastor Snowflake

The reason churches are dying losing members might gas something to do with the attitude of the leaders on this reply ...lost of empathy for the suffering which is What Would Jesus Not Do. I am a graduate of Seminary formerly from another denomination in which I supplied pastor for many churches to give pastors a break an opportunity to express my gift of encouragement. I have seen the difficult challenges to clergy. I also see self righteous leaders and parishioners all are under Grace including you and me. However do not be afraid to search for another institution to express your calling Jesus ordained the Body of Christ which surpasses the local church. I pray the Church continues to flourish but that we stop devouring pastors during crisis moments. I pray the Lord continue to be with you in whatever path you pursue

CHAN8ALEX28 more than 2 years ago


Wow with your attitude and foul language you should just leave the church!!

DJ more than 3 years ago


That's it: focus on your judgment so you don't have to address the real issues at hand.

Mark Riley more than 2 years ago


Profanity is an attention getter as George Patton knew. I have heard my fair share in the construction world as well. Though sometimes useful in art to illustrate a juxtaposition or irony, I think a pastor ought to refrain from using it except maybe to be "one of the guys" while panning for gold in Alaska or on a hunting or fishing trip. Sometimes profanity can be used to help relate culturally. In the pulpit or in the capacity as a professional clergyman (or woman), it is in poor taste and sometimes the message attempted can get lost in the very language that is being used as an attention getter. If being a pastor in the UMC sucks, Jesus' occupation was carpentry so you might grab a skillsaw, a pickup truck, a tin of snuff and try construction instead.

E more than 3 years ago


That's it: focus on an expose' of language so you don't have to address the real issues at hand. The Church will never change...too much judgment, not enough listening, no courage to initiate real change.

Mark Riley more than 2 years ago

Dear Pastor Snowflake

While some may be appalled at your language, I am not. I, too, sometimes revert to cussing when I'm a bit lazy and am unable to express myself more fluently. So your language doesn't really bother me. What does bother me is how anyone can get themselves ordained as a Methodist pastor and have ambiguous feelings about the truth of Jesus' resurrection and its redemptive, restorative effect on the people called Christian. If the Resurrection is not true, then the whole faith is but a house of cards. Yes, Jesus would have still been a wise kindly human philosopher whose lessons teach us how people should treat their fellow mankind, but history is filled with such wise philosophers. Why worship one over another? Why accept Jesus as part of our understanding of the Triune God if he's just a man who died a cruel death and left in a crypt? If He didn't rise from the dead on Easter, what hope do we have for our resurrection and the opportunity to be in communion with God for eternity? I don't know you and certainly can't judge you, but perhaps your anger is directed inward due to your loss of faith. I will pray that you come to a better understanding of who you are and your role as an ordained minister of Christianity. People who doubt the truth of Jesus' bodily resurrection may be good people or kind people but just don't call yourself Christian.

John more than 3 years ago

Well-stated response

I agree. When pastors and Bishops deny the core tenets of the Christian faith, I find that far more appalling and deserving of outrage than the secondary arguments over sexuality that we are having today. If the Methodist church had stood up and opposed radical theological liberalism wherever it raised its head, recognizing it as the simple garden variety unbelief that it is, we would not be having these arguments and wars over sexuality. Error begets error, and we now find ourselves in a denomination where the majority of our seminaries, pastors, Bishops, and agencies no longer conform to the criteria of Christian faith as defined and practiced by John Wesley and the early Methodists. Even today, why is there far greater outrage over the election of a lesbian Bishop, when the far greater outcry should have been over the fact that every one of the episcopal candidates in that particular conference held apostate theological views. Is an apostate lesbian Bishop really any worse than any other apostate Bishop? We, as a church, need to get our priorities straight.

Paul W. more than 3 years ago

The end

The UMC is euphemistically rearranging the decks chairs on the Titanic. Like every other denomination that has embraced homosexuality, the UMC and its way forward will be the beginning of the end of the UMC. No church that denies Biblical truth and authority ever prospers.

Lizzie Warren more than 3 years ago


So very true!

Dj more than 3 years ago

Exegesis Anyone?

Have you or anyone else in the UMC completed a serious exegetical study, including all forms of biblical criticism, of the scriptures typically used to condemn homosexuality?

Mark Riley more than 2 years ago