The United Methodist denomination has never had a winning season since it began in 1968. If you are keeping score by Average Worship Attendance and Membership, we have never had a winning season. These are meaningful scores for us too. Most pastors I know are very excited when they bring in a bunch of new members or if attendance is growing because it’s evidence that we are making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
We have smart, passionate, faithful people so why are we constantly losing? You can’t effectively fight for the mission when you’re continually fighting others on your team. Since pretty much the inception of the denomination, United Methodists have been fighting each other over the issue of homosexuality and similar issues.
In the video, I related the story of the Dakotas UMC along with a phenomenal graph. It’s probably an oversimplification, but we went from perennial losers (just like the rest of US denomination) to winners. We chose not to fight each other at Annual Conference. The Holy Spirit could then use us powerfully to reach and disciple people. But, as soon as we returned to fighting, we went back to losing.
When the church fights itself, the real losers are our communities and the world. I hope I remember this throughout the weeks leading up to Annual Conference.
- Four Principles to guide UMC Split: http://jctaccounting.com/2022/04/15/four-principles-to-guide-the-umc-through-the-split/