The United Methodist Church (UMC) is moving closer to a major split in the denomination over gay clergy and same sex weddings. Three of the twelve African bishops recently said they would go with a traditional path. Last October all African bishops signaled they would stay with the post separation UMC (psUMC), but tides have turned. The psUMC is the liberal (progressive) arm of the denomination fighting for the right to ordain gay clergy and perform same sex weddings in the church. Liberals in the UMC also seek to set aside scripture that doesn’t fit into their narrative. The driving issues in the split are homosexuality and the liberal separation from orthodox Christianity.
Traditionalists in the current UMC have formed the framework of the new Global Methodist Church (GMC). Traditionalists view the entire Bible as the work and word of God, none of it can be set aside. We must live with sin, repent from it, and do our best to avoid it, not try and normalize it as the liberals would have it.
Room for Improvement
The new GMC has much work to do in launching the denomination after the split. The current construct of the GMC too closely mirrors the structure of the UMC, which I believe led in part to the collapse of the denomination in the first place. My recommendations to the GMC are:
- More autonomy for Pastors
- Doing away with district superintendents
- Limiting the number of bishops
- A single President bishop of the denomination with broad powers
- Local churches enabled to call a special charge conference without approval from anyone (DS/bishop)
- Local church annual conference delegates elected by vote of the congregation
- General conference delegates elected by the collective delegates at annual conference
Cronyism in the UMC (GMC?)
The current construct in the UMC and presumably in the new GMC allows for too much cronyism. Allowing church councils to elect annual conference delegates, then allowing district superintendents along with bishops to select general conference delegates. I’ve seen too many instances where liberal bishops (and possibly traditional bishops) select delegates that align with their own agendas instead of the views of the churches they represent. This too has leap frogged the UMC into its current demise.
Stacking the Deck
Currently a pastor and his/her leadership have the ability to stack the deck; let me explain. The nominations committee, chaired by the pastor nominates committee members to the church leadership/administrative council. The nominations committee tends to rubber stamp the pastors picks. Over time, this allows the pastor to put like minded members aligned with their own narratives on the leadership team. The congregation has no voice or vote in this process. Each year the pastor will nominate a member to the annual conference, again rubber stamped by the leadership team. Again, the congregation has no voice or vote in this selection.
What does this mean?
This stacking the deck scenario allows a bishop to assign a liberal pastor to a majority traditionalist congregation. It then allows the new liberal pastor to begin framing his/her leadership team to align with their own narratives. Because the congregation has no voice and no vote in any of this, they (the congregation) are no longer represented in leadership, nor are their views and opinions reflected in decisions made in their name.
This very framework is what gave liberal bishops a false sense of security in moving forward with their gay initiative. They wrongly assumed that since they had close to 50% of delegates voting their way that it also meant 50% UMC congregations would also follow them in the psUMC. What they found out is liberal delegates don’t equal liberal congregations. They should have known this, after all it was them who stacked the deck.
I think the GMC has one chance to get this right, and that will not be achieved if they reinvent the failures of the UMC.
The founders of Moyock Christian are former members of the United Methodist Church who split from their local church in August 2019.