Why I’m joining the Global Methodist Church

19 01 2023

July 1, 2023 concludes my 20th year of appointment in the United Methodist Church. However, I am responding to God’s calling and joining the Global Methodist Church on or before then. I have loved the vast majority of my time in the United Methodist Church. I wish only the best for my UMC colleagues. I will be forever grateful for the UMC and pray for its future blessing. I have written about this recently and don’t plan on rehashing my love and current concern for the UMC in this post. Instead, I want to share with you the reasons why I feel God is calling me to be part of the Global Methodist Church.

  1. Theological Alignment – The doctrine of the Global Methodist Church reflects both the historic Christian faith and the distinctive roots of the Methodist movement. Truthfully, the United Methodist Church will also continue to be so …on paper. Although I have had many meaningful relationships across the theological spectrum, during my last 20 years of ministry within the UMC I most closely connected with those who could be described as “biblically conservative.” After the painful General Conference in Portland in May 2016 (where I was a delegate), I was part of the convening conference of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) in October 2016. (The WCA has been dubbed the “midwife” of the Global Methodist Church.) I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to be there and to be with compassionate, intelligent, theologically like-minded women and men who shared my vision for the church. It felt like I found “my people.” That’s the kind of theological alignment I expect in the GMC.
  2. Accountable Governance – Although this reason isn’t super exciting, it is necessary to share given the experiences I’ve had in the UMC. Again, I’ve already written about the broken governance of the UMC. You can read about that here. I am under no false impression that anyone can create a church structure that prevents clergy or churches from going astray. However, I do believe that the Global Methodist Church has created a system of checks and balances that self-corrects by removing those in leadership who can’t live by our shared covenant. Three main ways: 1) Term limits for bishops. 2) Bishops accountable to a global body made up of clergy and laity. 3) No guaranteed appointment for clergy. It gives me great comfort to know that GMC polity fixes some of the major problems within the UMC polity.
  3. Emphasis on Transformational Discipleship – I’ve always believed that the greatest life transformation happens within the context of small groups. I’ve experienced it personally. John Wesley not only preached that we can all go on to perfection in love by God’s sanctifying grace, but he also facilitated that kind of transformation through accountable discipleship in what he called bands and classes. I’m excited to be part of a movement that gets smaller (focusing on small groups) in order to get bigger.
  4. Emphasis on Evangelism and Church Planting – The church is the only institution that does not exist for itself. We exist for the glory of God by carrying out his mission to invite more and more people into his Kingdom. My heart beats for those outside the church. It always has, and it always will, likely because I didn’t grow up in the church. As a former church planter, I want to be part of a movement that is multiplication minded – that isn’t afraid to try new things to reach new people. To its credit, the UMC has had the same heart, but has been encumbered by reason #5 below and theological inconsistency. It’s hard to evangelize when you can’t agree on what it means to follow Jesus, or even on who Jesus is!
  5. Focus on a “Connected” Local Church – I believe that the local church is the hope of the world because the local church is the frontline of Jesus’ ministry in the world. Boards and agencies don’t make disciples. Local churches made up of disciples make disciples. The Global Methodist Church will have a greater focus on supporting the ministry of the local church through leaner structures and no trust clause. This will result in lower “apportionments” (called “connectional giving” in the GMC) ensuring more resources for local church ministry. But the vision is not for autonomous churches. Churches in the GMC will be more connected because they want to be!
  6. Legacy – I’m choosing the Global Methodist Church for a few reasons relating to legacy: 1) I want to be part of a present day worldwide movement of the Holy Spirit rooted in the earth-shaking ministry of the Wesley brothers. Revival and awakening of that magnitude is what I pray for and I believe God’s Spirit will leave such a legacy through the GMC. 2) I am personally excited to be part of the ground floor of such a movement! I feel that is where God is leading me to leave a legacy for the next 20+ years of vocational ministry. 3) But I also care about what follows me. I want to be part of a movement where I have confidence that the pastors that follow me are proclaiming the same gospel so the movement of God’s Spirit among us continues far beyond my lifetime.

This has not been an easy decision for several reasons. The UMC has been my family for the last 35 years. I’ve given the first half of my vocational life to ministry through the UMC and I’ve been richly blessed through it. But I believe with my whole heart that God will never call me where he won’t sustain me. I’m trusting in God’s faithfulness and I believe that the best is yet to come.


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