General Conference ’08

I’ve made plans, and I’m going down early Thursday morning to visit General Conference. I’m staying one night and leaving on Friday, so I’m not expecting to get much more than a taste of all that will happen there.

However, once I return, I’m planning to share my thoughts on General Conference, United Methodism, etc. on Sunday morning during my sermon. This isn’t something I do regularly, but I feel like the laity often only hear from the people with enough money to send out brochures and newsletters. So I’d like to examine what a wide range of people are saying and offer my prayerful thoughts on all that is taking place.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading up on some of the important issues facing our denomination. This reading makes me wonder something. If you were asked, “What are the four most important issues facing our denomination,” what would you say?

6 thoughts on “General Conference ’08

  1. Matt – My top four are:
    1. effective leadership
    2. average worship attendance
    3. commitment to methodical discipleship
    4. understanding ourselves as a global church

  2. Interesting questions Matt…

    With Andrew, I think the question of leadership is central–but leadership revolves around having a clear target or goal in mind, then engaging the steps necessary to meet those ends.

    I sat with my oldest two sons in worship this weekend-25 and 23. These kids are bright–one a Masters in IE working for Exxon, the other accepted into his choice of OSU and KSU’s Vet Schools (props to their mother for contributing her half of the gene pool). The primary emotion I feel in watching them in Church is–dare I say it–embarrassment, because they are bored out of their skulls. It isn’t a question of this music or that music, not a question of “style points” or the need for a bigger video screen. In my thinking it has more to do with the fact that we have done little to engage their minds as a means to touch their hearts. These men are dealing with complex problems in a complex world. Three points and a poem ain’t going to cut it.

    We are fifteen years and a three million funerals away from oblivion as a denomination…what would make me think that my kids are going to be filling the gap.


  3. Those are the issues that keep me up at night…seriously. Not so much for the sake of our denomination, but for the sake of the Church.

    I think Rob Bell (whatever you think of him) is touching on this issue with some of what he’s doing. He is working on the bleeding edge of challenging issues and younger adults are going to listen in droves…even if he’s just using a big white board.

    So, I guess you might say our very existence is an important issue facing the denomination! Or to use a few more words: an important issue facing our denomination is having leaders who are bold, intelligent, and creative enough to lead us to live in the ongoing narrative of salvation in today’s world.

  4. These are in no particular order:
    1. Stop asking “what would Wesley do” and start asking “why did Wesley do what he did”.
    2. Put tradition in its rightful place in the fabricated Wesleyan quadrilateral (remember, Wesley created new things).
    3. We need to figure out why we are not as passionate about Jesus Christ as Oprah is about The Secret, A New Earth or whatever the latest form gnostic humanism is taking.
    4. (Tie) Reverse the trend of the local church existing to support “the connection” to “the connection” existing to support the local church//The ministry of the United Methodist Church taking primacy over the polity/Discipline of the church as opposed to things being the other way around.

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