Today Pastor Dave explains how our two UMC local churches will be moving forward post pandemic. Things have and continue to rapidly change. There will be some restructure in how we live, lead, and how we share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The manner in which we will be doing this in our two UMC churches will be in a cooperative effort with nine other churches throughout the Midwest applying the principles of a program Pastor Dave has discussed briefly over the past few months, Revitalizing the Church and its Mission.
Year One is Flourishing in Life and Leadership. Leadership has changed in the church. Pastor Dave’s leadership previously has been based on the technical knowledge and methodologies on how the denomination operates within proper procedures set for the different leadership positions. That form of leadership is passing away in our culture today along with the entire structure of denominationalism. The changes we are seeing are being exasperated by the pandemic which has brought about changes that would have taken 10 or 20 years had the pandemic not come upon us. We are on a threshold and we are passing into a transition of what is to be. This is a critical time in which we must learn to adapt which has not been a process the United Methodist Church has traditionally embraced. This particular method of restructuring will guide us through this liminal space that we are in and will help us to find our steps into whatever becomes the new reality. We cannot begin to say what the new structure will be or will look like. The things that we had thought would happen to us are falling apart right now. An example of this is the proposal of the separation of the United Methodist Church that will allow the more traditional conservative Christians and pastors to leave the United Methodist Church and take the churches with them to a new denomination is losing ground quickly. What is actually happening is to move towards maintaining some sort of structure that is more focused on what is a so-called social crisis which is what our culture is experiencing today and attempting to unite our churches around those crises. That is doomed to failure because we are not called on by Christ to be social engineers. We are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ and to hear the voice of the Lord and the call to follow him. The church is designed to assist those that have heard that call to gather together to grow in their relationship with God and go in the world and share the gospel with others. When we truly love God with all our being and love our neighbor as ourselves, we no longer see the differences in one another. We see all people as children of God who are entitled to that which we know as the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Is there any greater expression of love than wanting others to have the same respect, hope of salvation, promises of God, and of a future that will not end?
Where do we go from here? We need to come through this time with the common understanding of the space we are in and with a determination of meeting the future in an adaptive way. We will not be able to fall back on the technical form of leadership that uses rules and procedures that no longer matter. We will try to understand what it means to face a post-modern challenge in a culture that is in a profound need of a church to lead us in a way that will enable us to flourish together. We are looking for Pastors to find a better way to make this a reality with every bit of our ability to adapt and flourish in our relationship with God, the Holy Spirit, and each other. Pastor Dave looks forward to working with all of you to stay faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ in whatever context our nation takes.
Take care and be safe, in Jesus Name…