Reflections on how Christians help each other to grow and mature in loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Having the Form But Lacking the Power

The only problem with Bishop Dyck’s excellent sermon is that her challenge for The United Methodist Church to become the “Church of Go” is that it assumes the church is filled with people who are equipped and ready to evangelize the world. I fear that this is a faulty assumption.

My observation of the majority of UM churches is that most, certainly not all, members see themselves of consumers of services provided by the church. They show up on Sunday morning, when it is convenient, expecting to be “fed.” Worship is a performance for which they are the audience. The ultimate purpose of worship is to make them feel good about themselves and their church.

Church programs exist for their benefit, enrichment and pleasure. In return they give their hard-earned dollars to pay the clergy salary and benefits and maintain the building. They refer to worship as “going to church” rather than “being the church.”

If you asked most UMs to share their faith with you, they’d probably respond by telling you their faith is between “me and Jesus” and its none of your business. They would probably be hard-pressed to describe to you the content of the gospel of Jesus Christ and why he is “good news” for the world.
This reality is largely due to the fact that the UMC has neglected the basics of Christian faith and life for too long. The good news is that several conferences have recognized this problem and have begun addressing it. Bishop Sally Dyck is one of the bishops who understands what needs to be done and is working for positive change. She deserves our wholehearted support and prayers.


Blogger Russ said...

Which Conferences and how are they addressing it?

11:12 AM

Blogger Steven Manskar said...

Illinois Great Rivers
Northern Illinois

Are three conferences that are taking action to help congregations make disciples of Jesus Christ. Each are going about this in different ways. But each approach share common elements: encouraging small groups for mutual accountability and support for discipleship, practicing the means of grace (works of piety and works of mercy), and developing lay pastoral leadership.

5:55 PM

Blogger Barb said...

Thanks Steve, for posting a comment on my blog. I had indeed looked at your blog before starting mine. At Annual Conference Michelle Hargrave told me about hers, and encouraged me to start one, too. I got to yours through your link on hers!
I thought I had done that setting check, but I'll make sure.
Blogging, I think, is going to fill a need for writing about things I can't really put in the church newsletter.
Glad you had a good week at Koronis - wish I could do your workshop in Northfield in Sept., but it is right before my daughters wedding.
By the way, I really liked this particular post - you described my churches to a tee.
Say hi to Gina.
Blessings on you all, too

4:41 PM


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