August 4, 2017
The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) believes that United Methodism will look very different from how it looks today after the 2019 special General Conference. The mandate given to the Bishops’ Commission on a Way Forward is very expansive and offers the opportunity for major structural changes within the denomination.
What will be the place of orthodox, traditional United Methodists in this new structure? We do not yet know the form it will take, but we are confident that like-minded church members will have a place within Methodism to carry out Jesus’ command to make disciples. Free of the need to contest those who cannot conscientiously live within the covenant we agreed to, we will be able to pursue the mission and ministry of the church undistracted and with wholehearted support.
Yet we cannot wait until February 27, 2019, the day after the called special General Conference, to begin thinking about how we would like to pursue a revitalized ministry together. The one lesson we repeatedly heard from our evangelical brothers and sisters in other mainline denominations who went through similar conflict was that they were not ready for whatever would come next when the time came to act.
That is why the WCA is committed to working now on plans for a revitalized 21st-century Methodism that can be implemented either within a United Methodist structure or outside it. Our plans need to be flexible enough to adjust to the Commission’s recommendation and the 2019 special General Conference’s decisions. Our plans also need to uphold the integrity of our belief in the primary authority of Scripture under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, as well as seek the best framework for a vital, growing church that is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Even now, task groups within the WCA are beginning to think about how to most effectively structure the church for mission and ministry in our contemporary context. They will be discerning theological principles and biblical teachings that will inform the search for more effective ways of positioning the church, with the emphasis on freeing and empowering the local church for its ministry as the primary place where disciple making occurs. We desire to diminish the presence of institutionalism and engage the sense of movement which marked Methodism wherever it has advanced in making disciples of Jesus.
Thinking through these issues is important preparatory work to enable us to respond as a united group to the opportunities presented by the Commission’s recommendation and the special General Conference’s action. We must be ready to hit the ground running! But that preparatory work will need to be tested and received by the WCA membership as a whole. Your participation as an individual or congregational member allows your voice and input to help shape whatever comes next for the traditional, orthodox wing of Methodism.
Combining the gifts and discernment of all WCA members will help ensure we have united support for whatever comes next. It will also yield a better end product, for “there is wisdom in many counselors.” We encourage your participation as a member of the WCA, so that you can help set the table for the “next” Methodism!
We invite you join us in this mission. If you or someone you know have not yet joined, and want to become a member of the WCA, complete the membership application accessible HERE