Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do We Believe It Is Possible?

Four years ago, we stood before the 2008 General Conference talking about shared vision and a unified direction for The United Methodist Church.  We didn't know what it would look like or what it would be called, but we all felt the need and urgency to make changes to ensure the relevancy of The UMC in the world moving forward.

As I listened to the Call to Action presentation last night at the 2012 General Conference, I am reassured that God's loving presence and wisdom has been a part of this journey for the Church.  One of the most important questions presenter Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the Church of the Resurrection and member of the Interim Operations Team, asked was: "Do we believe it is possible?"

I simply say yes.

This quadrennium we have seen the great minds of the denomination come together, engage each other in heart to heart conversations and holy conferencing.  We agreed to disagree at times while still finding ways to pursue the ultimate goal of creating lasting positive change for the denomination.

Connectional Table Member, Benjamin Boruff, described a road map to start the change process:
  1. A 10-year focus to create and sustain vital congregations;
  2. Annual Conferences organize themselves to create and sustain vital congregations;
  3. To ensure that our denominational boards are working together, in a nimble, responsive and streamlined structure; and
  4. To raise up a new generation of Christian leaders.
No matter where you land on the spectrum of support for the Call to Action plan or the Connectional Table legislation, we can all agree that change is needed.  Because of the sincerity and care taken by the members of the Connectional Table in this evolution process, I'm certain we have already started a new paradigm in the life of The UMC. The conversations we have had over the past four years have changed us all.  The nature in which we have come together around mission, money and vision has taken us into a new phase of
operating as the church.  No matter how the denomination chooses to vote, I am grateful to have been a part of  the process and I simply say thanks to all of you who have struggled with these important issues on behalf of the denomination.

Twenty years from now, the General Conference of 2032 will look back at this time and I hope they recognize it as the turning point which led to renewed vitality within The United Methodist Church.

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