Yesterday afternoon, we had an all-church conversation at Berryton United Methodist Church to process the 2019 special session of the General Conference. I put it on the calendar about a month ago. While it was, of course, impossible to predict how things would go, I did figure that we would need some time and space to process whatever it was that was passed. This was true.
The weather was bitterly cold and it was snowing for the first part of the morning with about 3 inches accumulated before the first worship service ended. It was the second lowest in-person worship attendance in the last two years. In spite of the conditions, we had a great turnout on Sunday afternoon to talk about General Conference.
I shared these documents with those that were gathered:
The first document was a statement that I shared in worship and the second was shared at the meeting in the afternoon. Both were adapted from resources provided by the Great Plains Annual Conference.
I am glad that people gathered and were willing to share their pain, questions, confusion, and hope. It felt inadequate. There needs to be and will continue to be more conversations in local congregations just like ours across the United States and around the world. People are moved to take action.
6 Questions for The United Methodist Church (which you can read about here) is a new kind of project within the denomination.
This project is distinct in that it:
- seeks to shape a conversation, not produce immediate action steps.
- offers the opportunity for any question to be received on the same playing field.
- does not give preferential treatment to any person’s vote.
- becomes better with more participants.
- provides a simple way to gather input from across annual conferences.
To participate visit: http://bit.ly/6qumc
To read more, visit: http://www.umcyoungclergy.com/6qumc
Is this a new kind of project? What do you think?
Currently within the United Methodist Church many persons are taking action toward renewal. Together these actions create a movement of change.
I have five invitations for you along with links to specific posts which provide additional about each one. I invite you to:
- Join other young United Methodist leaders in 40 days of prayer beginning on May 18 and concluding on June 26, 2009
- Reserve space at your Annual Conference and use it to share a vision for the future – both for young leaders and the annual conference
- Use common tags in social media when considering issues related to the denomination or young leaders.
- Articulate common themes and share stories of vision and action that are producing fruit in God’s kingdom.
- Email me (andrew dot conard at cor dot org) with “UMC Young Clergy” in the subject line if any or all of these are true:
- You would be willing and able to travel to a national gathering of young clergy in October 2009 with the purpose of clarifying common themes of the movement that is forming
- There is a young clergy organization or movement within your annual conference.
- You would be willing to create and lead a young clergy organization or movement in an annual conference where one does not currently exist.
If you would like to share a hard copy of these invitations you can access the Google Document via this link.
Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
– Japanese proverb
In considering the future of the United Methodist Church both vision and action is critical. Yesterday, I outlined a vision for renewal within the denomination and today I will tackle how I think it will happen.
I used to think that it was key to determine a clear vision that could be seen by people from across the spectrum of the denomination. This would be a clear directional arrow pointing the way forward for the entire denomination. I no longer believe that this is the best approach. It does not matter whether one particular renewal / revival effort becomes the one that gains huge momentum and spreads across the denomination. What does matter is that many people see a positive vision for the future and take action around it. Some of these efforts will have ongoing significance and some will not. But together these efforts will form the directional arrow pointing the way to renewal within the denomination and spiritual revival among United Methodists. I initiated this idea on paper in a conversation with Ben Simpson:
I have been reading The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations and am becoming increasingly convinced that what is needed is a multitude of leaders taking action toward a vision. Some of these efforts will fall along the path, in rocky places, among thorns and some on good soil. (Mark 4) I believe that sharing stories multiplies the action that is being taken and serves as inspiration.
Some examples of vision and action of which I am aware:
My invitation for you:
- Articulate a vision or align with the vision of another for spiritual revival and renewal within the United Methodist Church.
- Begin to take action toward that vision.
- Make your vision and action public through a blog, facebook, twitter, etc or share the vision and action of someone else whose story needs to be told.
- When you hear or read a story of vision and action that is producing fruit for God’s kingdom – share it with others.
The same is true for this post. If you believe that the action associated with this vision will prove fruitful, share this post with others. If not, let it pass on into the blogosphere.
My vision today is to aid in sharing stories of effective vision and action with others.
My action today is this blog post and a continuing commitment to passing along stories
With God’s help, I seek to be faithful in both my vision and actions. I plan to remain active in casting vision and taking action to see what gains momentum.
What vision do you have? What action have you taken?
Thursday and Friday of last week I was part of a gathering of 10 young adult leaders to discern best practices for supporting young clergy in the UMC. This grew out of conversations that began at the UMC Young Clergy Facebook group, video documentary on young clergy and the umc young clergy website.
We named issues of isolation / community and leadership development / mentoring as top concerns among young clergy. If you are interested, you can check out the live blogged event. But this gathering was not just about talk, we are going to do something about it and you are invited.
I am on the team that is working around building community among young clergy facilitated by online resources.
- What ideas do you have that could help build community online?
- What services / sites do you actually use on a regular basis?
My previous posts on this subject: