annual conference changing lives church kansas ministry renewing the church transforming the community united methodist church

Influencing the United Methodist Church

Last week one of my colleagues asked, Are you comfortable with the influence that The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection has on the United Methodist Church?

Yes, I am comfortable with the influence that Resurrection has on the denomination. I think that Resurrection seeks to represent the extreme center in the United Methodist Church and within the religious dialogue in the United States. I think that this is a voice that is desperately needed within the denomination and a voice is able to speak in meaningful ways to those outside the denomination – both non religious persons and those of other denominations. I believe that Resurrection is thoroughly Christian, Methodist and Wesleyan and I feel great about those influences shaping the denomination.

However, I also recognize that there are many churches and leaders across the world that are working for renewal within The United Methodist Church and within local churches. I think that Resurrection has a lot to learn from others as well. I think that the denomination is healthier with many congregations and leaders actively seeking and working toward renewal.

Every day that I am at church I pray for spiritual revival in Kansas, renewal within The United Methodist Church, wisdom and endurance for delegates to General Conference and Resurrection‘s purpose, vision and journey. I believe that all of these can be and are influenced by the others and I hope to be a part of God’s work in this place and time.

  • What do you think about all this?
  • Do you think that Resurrection has an influence on the denomination? If so, is it an appropriate level?
  • What congregations do believe have significant influence on The United Methodist Church?
  • What individuals do believe have significant influence on The United Methodist Church?
  • What other topics did I leave out of this conversation which need to be addressed?

5 replies on “Influencing the United Methodist Church”

i have the session talks from the ’06 leadership conference and listen to them on a rather regular basis (for that sort of thing) and pastor hamilton really does frame his words well in speaking of the vision for cor in playing a part in bringing about renewal and growth for the mainline. what he says and how he says it seems very healthy and helpful. however, it is a fine line and people probably often get confused over a role they see and a role perceived.

Actually, I long for us to have much greater influence. Our denomination is desperately sick and yes Dying. Its in need of a Doctor, who can accurately diagnose and treat what ails it. Even the ranks of our Episcopacy are filled with folks who have presided primarily over large but dying churches. We need hope that things can be different, or I fear we are not long for this world.

I want to commend you and the entire team at COR for leading a church that is doing so much to help the UMC. I remember listening to Adam Hamilton at the combined KS. east/ West Annual Conf. in 2000 as he taught on church growth and thinking “This is amazing.” I have been to many annual conferences and it is the only time I have had that kind of experience. I pray that the influence of COR on the UMC will only grow in the days ahead. You are teaching churches how to have effective ministries that connect with people in the 21st century. Thanks for your leadership.

What do you think about all this?
I feel pretty comfortable with your assessment of CoR’s solid stance within the Methodist connectional system. Yet what I am compelled to remark on is the openness that this post and overall Adam’s leadership have modeled. I believe it to be critical never to assume that one congregation holds “the” answer for renewal. God has granted us amazing diversity and I pray that we never become a denomination bent on replicating only certain programs or models to the exclusion of others. If there is to be renewal it will take everyone working within their own skill sets and gifts. Often times we assume that churches that are “old and dying” are dying because they are old… yet I believe that we merely require leaders who are able to provide a vision and drive for their congregation without needing to alter the DNA of the church. Certainly there can be limiting or even harmful systems at play in these churches, but to abandon them is to deny the activity of the Spirit in their midst.

Do you think that Resurrection has an influence on the denomination? If so, is it an appropriate level?
I think any congregation that has experienced the growth and leadership that Resurrection has in some ways deserves a seat at the discussion about renewal. Outside of that I’m not sure what sort of leverage CoR has on the general policies of KS East.

What congregations do believe have significant influence on The United Methodist Church?
It’s an interesting question – I’ve never actually considered congregations to be the primary influencing factor in the church but the wider organizations. It’s possible that we’re seeing a change in how this works, but I always have paid a lot more attention to the actions of groups like IRD and their subgroup UMRenew than to what a individual congregation is doing in terms of influence on the wider church.

What individuals do believe have significant influence on The United Methodist Church?
I think is some ways the individuals who gain influence are not always the most deserving, but sometimes the ones who simply scream the loudest. Conferences can be so desperate for “an” answer that they’ll listen to any one offered with the right amount of surety or style. Two decade ago the movers and shakers were those that were took up as their standards the headline issues of the day – not because the offered answers persay, but sometimes just because they offered enough lip service to garner wider attention.

Gavin – Thanks for your thoughts and reminder of the fine line. I think you are right on this point.

chuckinisrael – True words about the nature of the denomination. I think that there are others who can bring positive influence and a sense of renewal as well.

Bryson – Thanks for your encouragement. I truly appreciate your and GracePoint’s role in renewing the church as well!

Ben – Thanks for the reminder that old is not a correlation or causation for dying for congregations and that renewal comes from many different sources.

I have not heard of the IRD or UMRenew. Interesting…

If individuals can gain influence by just speaking the loudest – what can the denomination or others do to ensure that there are positive influences on the denomination?

Comments are closed.