Itinerant ministry is a “Sent” system, where pastors are sent by the Bishop to their ministry appointments. This is different from a “Call” system, where pastors apply for the job and are voted in by the congregation. Both systems have their pros and cons. Sure, itineracy has to change with the times because our culture is not the same anymore. But maybe the answer isn’t to move to a “call” system so much as it is to reclaim the reason the was really started:
John Wesley’s reason: “It’s your business to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to Repentance, and…to build them up in the Holiness, without which they cannot see the Lord.”
The first book of Discipline also stated: “Our call is to save that which is lost. Now we cannot expect them to seek us. Therefore we should go and seek them… The greatest Hindrance to this you are to expect from rich, or cowardly, or lazy Methodists.”
So, there. Bishop Francis Asbury and his companion preacher, Harry Hosier, never sent preachers anywhere they hadn’t been themselves. They were hardcore. BTW, the average life expectancy of the first circuit riders was 33 years old. Sign up today!