Did you choose to be United Methodist? For me, my small town had a Catholic church and a protestant church…and I wasn’t born Catholic. That protestant church happened to be United Methodist. If I wanted to be a Christian and didn’t want to become Catholic, that meant I was United Methodist by default.
Later after I got married and moved to Bismarck, my wife and I shopped for churches. Although I had a good experience with my hometown church, we checked out 12 different churches…two of them being United Methodist. When we joined a United Methodist church, my wife and I were committing to the people of that local church and not to a denomination. Later we moved again. Although we checked out a United Methodist church, we ended up landing in a Wesleyan church.
Was your experience similar? For me, the denomination was always secondary compared to the people and pastor of the local church. After so many years working in the church world, I now see how the denomination can affect your pastor which will affect the people of the church. That is why your denomination is important.
In the past, all you could do is grumble about the United Methodist denomination because you couldn’t leave it unless you wanted to leave your church family. Here were my common grumbles:
- The denomination is making ministry more difficult: The United Methodist denomination often takes a very liberal stance on political issues…and usually that’s what makes the headlines in the news. In the Dakotas, that is a roadblock for reaching roughly 2/3 of the population that usually vote Republican.
- The denomination costs a lot and provides little: In the denomination’s defense, they do provide pastoral leadership which can often be taken for granted. The problem is you are also paying for a lot of other things that are not benefiting your church…such as those programs pushing political issues.
- The denomination seems to have attention deficit disorder: The denomination would often put out a new program or idea, but it would rarely stick with it. Their best intentions would get drowned out by all the other commitments.
If your church is considering leaving the UMC, the deadline is likely February 28, 2023 to make that decision
I make the case in the video for the due date. I wouldn’t recommend leaving the United Methodist denomination just because you have a few complaints. But, if you believe your church needs to head in a different direction from the United Methodist denomination, now is likely your churches only opportunity to make that change. Your leadership needs to take a vote to pursue disaffiliation and notify your district superintendent. Starting the process does not commit your church to a vote…but it makes a vote possible.
- Video on Split from 3rd Party: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6fOEmQEfuc
- Episcopalian Article on Separation: https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2022/06/30/what-happened-to-united-methodists-proposal-to-split-the-denomination/
- UMC Count of Churches Leaving: https://www.umnews.org/en/news/disaffiliations-approved-by-annual-conferences?fbclid=IwAR2rs-bN1g5TgMR-JYIwKays1YUN98HXoWX7p6u-ZXbukdaftzk87KkA7cA
- Dakotas UMC Calendar for November: https://www.dakotasumc.org/calendar?month=11&year=2023
- Disaffiliation Process in Dakotas UMC: https://jctaccounting.com/2022/06/03/how-the-disaffiliation-process-works-in-the-dakotas-umc/
- Global Methodist Website: https://globalmethodist.org/
- Dakotas-Minnesota GMC: https://www.uppermidwestgmc.org/
Hey Jeff! Great podcast. Really puts it all together!