A Critical Question for Us All

My tribe continues to meet in Tampa, Florida, this morning, in the quadrennial “General Conference” that serves as the body officially responsible for creating and updating policy and polity (and, unofficially, polarity) for The United Methodist Church. In day 2, and as seems to always happen in large gatherings – I’ve seen the same kind of slow-down in groups from Church Councils to annual conferences – the group is bogged down in details. Specifically, at this time, they are still debating the rules for the General Conference…

With great grace, Rev. Adam Hamilton, of The Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City – a pastor who I look to as mentor and sage despite only meeting him a few times – Tweeted last night: “Debate about the standing rules – undoubtedly important but these matters wear me out. Anyone else?”

I’ve been in various meetings where things have to be talked about over and over before any movement occurs, and in my experience the debate tends to wear me down. Thankfully, I’m not a GC delegate, so I can tune in or out as I choose. I appreciate all of our representatives who are gathering to do the important work of evaluating and re-envisioning our movement. But at the same time, as debate rages about rules, I feel like we’re missing the point, delaying the conversation, and negatively impacting the energy we might have to focus on “the main thing.”

Thankfully, social media allows for concurrent communication. Already I see various Twitter and Facebook posts about what is going on, about what the delegates see as important, and so forth. And so I would ask, not knowing who might visit here or respond, the critical question I would like to hear more about:

How do you serve God to help people be and live more like Jesus? (Or how would you like to?)

I would love any and all responses, whether you are a GC delegate, part of the UMC, or not. At the heart of Methodism was the Wesley brother’s mission to “spread scriptural holiness throughout the land” – in essence, to help people to be and live more like Jesus. That is what I most want to know and reclaim, so I yearn to hear how others are doing it.

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One response to “A Critical Question for Us All

  1. Ron, this is a great question, and so pertinent to all of us as individuals and as a denomination. I heard a lot during this morning’s general conference session (before all the debate about the rules) about how important it is for us to remain and promote being a global church…and yea, that is important. But for me, as a candidate for ministry who is still trying to come to grips with how it is I am called to serve God, I believe very strongly that as an individual, God has called me to reach how to those in my community and in the world…but I can only do it one person at a time. So for me, as important as the global church is to us as a denomination, the truth is, unless we can help people – one at a time – see and feel the love of Jesus that flows through us as Christian believers, the church will eventually die. As servant leaders in the church, we need to stay grounded in scripture, rooted in our tradition, illumined by our reason, and guided by our experience. But most of all, we need to trust in God’s will. Thanks, my friend, for posing such a thought-provoking question. God bless!

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