Recently I was invited to share as the “Remain UMC” representative for a church considering disaffiliation. They had already heard from a “Join GMC” speaker. Here’s a brief outline of what I shared with them.
1. I Love our Theology
I affirm our emphasis on God’s grace—prevenient, justifying, sanctifying grace which is available to all. I love the Wesleyan Quadrilateral—Primacy of Scripture, interpreted by tradition, reason, and experience. I celebrate the breadth of thought and understanding of the faith in the UMC. Frankly, I do not want to be part of a denomination where everyone is expected to be “like-minded”, where, as one GMC advocate said, “You will hear the same Gospel message in Boise or in Sierra Leone.”
- 2. I Love our Global Connexion
We are connected with United Methodists around the world through the General Conference and our regional annual conferences in the USA, Europe, Philippines, parts of Africa, and through mission projects in over 100 countries.
We are connected through the Council of Bishops, boards and agencies, United Women of Faith and the Women’s Division; connected with other Methodist denominations in the World Methodist Council and with other Christians through the National and World Council of Churches and a host of other ecumenical bodies, We are already a Global United Methodist Church.
And yes, we are connected through our apportionments.
- 3. I Love our Apportionment System
It means that every local congregation is automatically a global congregation, every local church is part of a global mission.
We support missionaries, deaconesses, military chaplains, schools, colleges, seminaries, and hospitals in ways we never could if support was based solely on one-to-one donations from local churches. The best example is Africa University. We never could have built a world class university by appealing to 30,000 local churches and hoping they give. The only way it could be done was with the assured foundation of 30 years of General Church support.
- 4. I Love the “Trust Clause”
I’ve invested 40 years of my life in congregations with long histories of financial support from generations of faithful United Methodists. The trust clause assurances they will continue to be United Methodist churches for generations to come. I regret that the church where I spent the longest appointment in my career may be moving toward disaffiliation.
And honestly, has there ever been a time in your congregation’s history when the trust clause got in the way of your building plans, your ministry and program?
5. I Love our Appointment System.
Ours is the only system that guarantees a pastor for every church. Every appointment is not perfect, every preacher is not perfect and every congregation is not perfect. But in the long run, our system provides for the training, deployment, supervision and smooth transition of clergy in a way most other systems do not.
I celebrate the fact that I was SENT, not hired, to serve my local congregations on behalf of the larger mission of the church. And I love the community of clergy with whom I have shared the journey.
Well…that’s a start. I could go on, but there are a few reasons why I intend to remain a United Methodist. If you would like to discover our Wesleyan roots, there is still room on our Wesley Heritage Tour with Rev. Faith Fowler. Let me know and I’ll send a brochure or use the direct link below….and “God save the King.”