My Vision for the United Methodist Church

I have been thinking a lot about the United Methodist Church, including the Top 5 Reasons I Stay in The United Methodist Church earlier in the week.

My vision for the United Methodist Church is that:

  • Every church or charge will have at least one new member join by profession of faith each year.
  • United Methodists will be known in their community by the practice of their faith and care for their neighbors.
  • Every church or charge that needs to close will do so graciously and generously.
  • Each United Methodist will take seriously the call to offer Christ to those who have not received the good news.
  • Each United Methodist will be committed to the denomination only to the extent that it is effective for making disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • No United Methodist will hold so tightly to the past as to prevent following God’s active spirit.

Check back tomorrow for ideas about how this might happen and feel free to share your vision.

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20 thoughts on “My Vision for the United Methodist Church

  1. I would add one more:
    Each church would have at least one L’Arche-type community living homes under their responsibility including a cooperative effort with the Global Church of the Nazarene and the Global Nazarene Lamb’s Hope.

  2. I would add that we United Methodists would once again embrace our radical calling to spread Scriptural Holiness throughout the land, that we would once again become people of “One Book”, that we would renew our commitment to the doctrine spirit and discipline with which we first set out, and that we would once again embrace the motivating doctrine of our movement – namely Christian Perfection. Perhaps there is nothing more important than the latter given that Wesley said near the end of his life that it was for this reason chiefly that God raised up the people called Methodist.

  3. Thanks for sharing. On this pont:

    Every church or charge that needs to close will do so graciously and generously.

    I am the layleader of a UMC church that could have closed “graciously” but instead we have reimagined what it meant to be a church and are part of an exciting ressurection story.

    The problem was that the act of changing the culture of the church was very painful and very expensive. Instead of closing churches graciously, why not figure out ways to reinvent them graciously?

    • mikeoles3 – Great point. I do think that a particular way of ministry is closing and the reinventionis part of doing so well. Thanks for the reminder of this possibility as well.

  4. “Each United Methodist will be committed to the denomination only to the extent that it is effective for making disciples of Jesus Christ. ”

    What’s this mean Andrew? What is this trying to prevent or correct?

    • Thanks for the question. I do not want to my commitment to the United Methodist Church to be greater than my commitment to making disciples of Jesus Christ. I do not want to be a part of keeping the denomination alive for the sake of the denomination. I want to be a part of renewal in the denomination because I believe that the denomination provides a faithful way of living out the faith that is relevant today.

  5. I love that statement Andrew – AEL what it means is that our loyalty to Christ is unconditional, our loyalty to a denomination is conditioned by its loyalty to Christ. To suggest anything else is to worship the creation rather than the creator.

  6. Oh and perhaps its trying to prevent and/or correct things like UM Bishops who deny the virgin birth, the resurrection, the atonement, and other basics of the faith.

  7. “Each United Methodist will be committed to the denomination only to the extent that it is effective for making disciples of Jesus Christ. ”

    I’ve been letting this one mull around for a while, and while I understand and appreciate the sentiment it proposes I have some questions:

    1) What was your main focus of the statement? Is it a statement forged in opposition to times when the UMC isn’t effective at making disciples? Or is it a statement about loyalty to Christ and not the Church?

    2) Where does the current mission statement of the UMC fit into the statement? I call special attention to the “transformation of the world” aspect.

    3) If, as Lifelong suggests the focus of the vision is one of subjective conditional support for the UMC where does the concept of reform fit in? If I feel the Church has become ineffective should I leave the denomination in order to prove my higher loyalty to Christ, or should I stay and promote change so that effective disciple-making might once again occur?

    Lastly – and directed kindly towards Lifelong:
    It’s been 5 years since Bishop Sprague retired, perhaps it’s time to forgive and move on?

    • 1) It is opposition to not effectively making disciples of Jesus Christ. It is also a statement about loyalty to Christ over the denomination.
      2) I believe that making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is important. However, making disciples is not just for the transformation of the world.
      3) I am committed to staying with the denomination and promoting change so that effective disciple-making might once again occur.

  8. um…where is Andrew? It’s his vision statement. What did you mean, friend? Where do you see the rub? And if/when you do, what do you do about it?

      • You said above that
        1. you did not want to keep the denomination alive for the sake of the denomination but that

        2. you wanted to be part of renewal because the denomination is a faithful way of living out the faith.

        So my questions is how do we decide when it is #1 and when it is #2 and if we decide a habit or stragegy or obligation or an appointment or whatever is more #1…what are you prepared to do about it?

        I guess it’s the “to the extent” phrase in your original post that has me curious. “to the extent” that the denomination isn’t effective in making disciples, how do we proceed? Cause one MIGHT say the whole “conference” structure from charge–to general, could fall in that category.

        I am mindful of Tony Jones’ charge that we are sufficating under bureaucracy. But one woman’s “bureaucracy” is another man’s “standards.” Somebody is heavily invested in all parts of the denomination.

      • AEL – Good question. You are right that a particular set of circumstances could be viewed as either bureaucracy and standards, depending on perspective. To the extent that the particular programs, boards or agencies are not effective making disciples, I would be willing to advocate for a clear cut in funding.
        I am not willing to say nor am I intending to suggest that the entire conference structure is ineffective. I believe that it is an excellent structure that positions the denomination well for renewal and effective ministry. However, I believe that on many levels this structure could become more efficient and focused on the mission of the church.

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