It is probably not a word you ever use. It means, according to a couple of dictionaries, “a system (as in the Methodist Church) of rotating ministers who itinerate” or move about in performance of pastoral duties.
Elders and Local Pastors (preachers) of The United Methodist Church are expected to be available to itinerate each year. At the time of ordination, preachers agree to “go where you are sent” and to “be obedient to those placed in authority over you.” The Bishop assigns preachers according to the needs of the churches in a given geographical area or Annual Conference.
There are other systems and processes for churches securing clergy leadership; however, the way of itinerancy is our “Methodist” way. If you have been in the military, this system sounds familiar. The idea for itinerancy is based on the practice of the early church seeking discernment from the Holy Spirit in fasting, prayer, and the laying on of hands. The church then sends out workers into the mission field. After a while, the workers come back to the apostles and are accountable for their efforts (Acts 13 ).
In a few days at Annual Conference, Bishop Leeland will appoint me to serve the Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church. I will itinerate there as senior pastor. Bill Elwell will itinerate here to Daphne. Keep our families in your prayers as Bill and I live out our calling to serve Christ and the church.
Sharmon and I thoroughly enjoy being part of Daphne Church. You are wonderful people with a heart for God and for others. We will miss you. At the same time, we will be thrilled to celebrate the harvest coming to this amazing church. We love you, and pray God’s blessing in all things.