I am a pastor serving a church comprised of people from different theological backgrounds. With a constant eye on predictions for the United Methodist Church’s next General Conference, my heart races a little bit when thinking about what the church may look like in the future. Will congregants have to choose which kind of Methodist church they will attend? I do not have the answer, but I think we should begin to plan for possibilities. We must have tough conversations to determine which path we follow.
As I feel overwhelmed, I wish I could stand up and shout, “Look! Let my church be a model of how we can continue to worship together. At the door, we lay aside our differences and enter our worship space with one thing in mind, worship. We, meaning all of us, come before God and focus our attention on the One, who gives us all things. We put first things first. Every Sunday, we invite everyone in the community to fellowship with us. As the body of Christ, we need one another for support and guidance. In our church, we give all to the Father and check our preferences at the door.
As we approach General Conference in September of 2021, I pray for our church. If we split, I pray that we can part amicably and still hold one another in love and care. We spent too many years on anger and hatred. Let us reaffirm our baptismal covenant to love and serve God and practice kindness and forgiveness lessons. That was the focus of Jesus’ ministry. Let it be ours as well.