Friday, March 21, 2008

Itinerant Ministry

Traveling ministry is the trademark of the Methodists. Yet many pastors grumble about itinerating.

In Southern Philippines, one of the biggest challenge for Methodists is the lack of ordained elders. This is the same problem that the early Methodists encountered - not enough number of priests to minister the word and the sacrament. Well, there is always the local pastor who preaches every Sunday (and may have the special authority to officiate the Lord's Supper) but this does not really solve the problem.

Yet, this is not really a problem. This is an occasion to exercise the Methodist trademark of a travelling ministry. The local pastor can provide the pastoral duties on the local congregation that they may regularly receive grace through the means of reading the scriptures, prayer and fellowship. Just like in the early Methodist movement, they receive the sacraments when the elders come to their church. And just like the travelling preachers, these elders should bring the fire of God's word to revitalize the people.

The elders should be thankful for being set aside to do God's work. When they travel, they evangelize. They offer God's grace to the many congregations that they go to. They reawaken the souls of those slumping to sleep. They feed the hungry and thirsty souls and they help people grow in their faith.

To be a Methodist pastor is to be in a travelling ministry. A ministry geared for evangelism. A ministry that made Methodism grew then. Isn't that a promise we can see if Methodists pastors embrace whole heartedly the traveling ministry?

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