By Carolyn Moore
Since General Conference 2019, multiple conversations have produced multiple proposals for multiple ways through our current crisis. Negotiations have produced several significant legislative proposals to be considered at General Conference 2020. The “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation” seems to have generated more blogs, tweets, resolutions and comments than there are United Methodists.
Now we are in a waiting game; a brutal exercise in patience for all of us. And yet… we wait. Is there any constructive action to take — something we can do — while we all hang out in this “already and not yet” season? Yes, actually. I will give you a great action step: Join.
Friends, now is the time — if your heart is as ours — to join the Wesleyan Covenant Association. Here is why you should join and why you should join now:
1. You can help shape the next Methodism.
There are two ways to build a house: one is to stand on the street and yell instructions toward the guy with the hammer. The other is pick up a hammer yourself and ask for a bucket of nails. The guy with the hammer and nails is the one who gets the house built.
Those who join the WCA have the chance to help build the house. We are working on multiple levels to craft a landing place for those who cannot in good faith continue in the UM Church after GC2020. Those who are invested can help shape what comes next. Your voice matters, but it matters a lot more if you are holding a hammer.
2. You can make a positive statement about what you believe.
Sadly, the current culture of the UM Church leans heavily toward critique over conviction. In other words, we have developed a habit of criticizing from a safe distance (yelling at the builder) rather than positively stating what we believe. By joining the WCA, you make a simple statement about what you believe. As a denomination, we have met our quota of critique and skepticism. We do not need more critique; what we are lacking these days are folks who can winsomely, courageously, positively state what they believe. We need a few folks to do the Luther thing: “Here I stand.” And joining the WCA is one way to do that.
3. Your stand will give your congregation clarity.
This moment in the UM Church has the potential to become a strong discipleship opportunity in your congregation. Use your membership in the WCA to discuss with your folks what you believe as a United Methodist pastor. Share with them the various groups that have formed around our current divide so they can more thoughtfully weigh what they believe. Give them access to the things you read and have discussions about what it means to be a Methodist. This is such a healthy way to help your folks think theologically.
4. Your stand will help your congregation make its choice for what is next.
At some point, it becomes a kind of theological malpractice to leave your congregation in the dark. By joining the WCA, you commit to your position and give your folks permission to do the same without wondering how that will settle with you.
Even if the WCA is not your thing, I cannot tell you just how good it is to take a season with your folks to talk about what is. Talk openly, honestly, without anxiety about what you believe and invite others in your congregation to examine both their hearts and what it means to be a Methodist. I talk with so many pastors who are downright fearful. So much anxiety. I have discovered that open, honest sharing is the best antidote. Find your stand and share winsomely with your folks from that place.
5. You will be better prepared for GC2020.
Why wait until the vote to take your stand? By doing so now, you not only settle your own heart, but will be better prepared to take the next step once GC2020 has passed its plan for our collective future. That day is quickly approaching. Friends, I am praying for you as you find your stand, lose your fear, and join a great move of God.
Join the WCA today!
The Rev. Dr. Carolyn Moore is the founding and lead pastor of Mosaic Church in Evans, Georgia. She serves as the vice-chairwoman of the Wesleyan Covenant Association Council. You can read more of her essays by visiting her webpage: The Art of Holiness