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A Non-Anxious Presence in Perilous Times

This week the Wesleyan Covenant Association continues a video series on doing ministry in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Today the Rev. Dr. Jan Davis, Senior Pastor at Central United Methodist Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas, talks about serving as “A Non-Anxious Presence in Perilous Times.” Watch video   The video series will continue with: Keeping People … Continue Reading

The Value of Teams in the Time of Pandemic

This week the Wesleyan Covenant Association begins a five part video series on doing ministry in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Today the Rev. Jorge Acevedo, Lead Pastor at Grace Church in Fort Myers, Florida, talks about how it is more important than ever to stay connected with and care for local teams and groups. … Continue Reading

How Will Your Church Respond to Disruption?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic grounded most of us, I took a flight from Dallas to California. Storms had been rolling through Dallas overnight and continued into the morning. After I boarded, the captain came on the speaker to let everyone know it was going to be a very bumpy flight. And boy was it! The … Continue Reading

From Generation to Generation

When you encounter that squirrely twelve-year-old from the youth group, who do you see? Just another kid or an adult-in-the-making? It is easy to think in conventional developmental terms about what a twelve-year-old needs from the church “right now,” at this particular stage in life.  Of course, it is good to think that way, but … Continue Reading

The Victory of Easter

Easter 2020 is probably unlike any Easter we have experienced. The celebration of Easter draws even the most reluctant church-goer out to join others in embracing a message of hope. Attendance at an Easter Sunrise service has been a yearly part of my celebration for as long as I can remember. Such services will be … Continue Reading

A Reflection on Good Friday

In an ultimately rollicking and rousing sermon on the Resurrection the Rev. Kenneth Levingston declared at the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s 2020 Global Gathering in Tulsa, Oklahoma: “Paul told us, ‘Jesus was buried.’ I think Paul wants to make sure we don’t think about this metaphorically and allegorically. Paul wants us to know Jesus was buried, dead, dead. … Continue Reading

St. Augustine: a Christ-follower in Dark Times

Sometimes whole years float by placidly, like a lazy summer river, but then clouds emerge, a lazy river becomes rapids, the one certainty is uncertainty, and anxiety can surround us like a dark cloud. How do Christians respond in the midst of uncertainty and anxiety? How do we maintain hope and a vibrant witness? How … Continue Reading

Prayer Waves: A Global Day of Fasting and Prayer

The Wesleyan Covenant Association International Intercessory Prayer Network In Scripture, God instructed us how we, the body of Christ, should respond in a time of plague:  with fasting, repentance, and prayer. On Friday, March 20, 2020, the leaders of the Wesleyan Covenant Association International Intercessory Prayer Network held a video conference call and decided to … Continue Reading

Licensed Local Pastors in a New Methodist Church

This is the third of three articles on new paragraphs the Wesleyan Covenant Association is releasing for inclusion in its draft “Book of Doctrines and Discipline.” The WCA previously released Part Five – The Ministry of the Clergy without ¶¶ 501-516, the paragraphs dealing with the process of credentialing and ordaining clergy. These paragraphs are … Continue Reading

The Ministry of Deacons

This is the second of three articles on new paragraphs the Wesleyan Covenant Associations is releasing for inclusion in its draft “Book of Doctrines and Discipline.” The WCA previously released Part Five – The Ministry of the Clergy without ¶¶ 501-516, the paragraphs dealing with the process of credentialing and ordaining clergy. These paragraphs are … Continue Reading

Theological Foundations for Ordination in a New Expression of Methodism

Today, the Wesleyan Covenant Associations begins a series of three articles on new paragraphs it is releasing for inclusion in its draft “Book of Doctrines and Discipline.” The WCA previously released Part Five – The Ministry of the Clergy without ¶¶ 501-516, the paragraphs dealing with the process of credentialing and ordaining clergy. These paragraphs are now ready … Continue Reading

Prayer, Thanksgiving, and Perseverance

Whether in the city of Manila in the Philippines, in a village on the plains of south central Russia, or in a town in Tennessee, or in many other places around the world, the sounds of hymns and prayers corporately sung and said have fallen silent in local United Methodist churches. To be sure, persevering … Continue Reading

All of Us, All of Him

Down through the ages, various Christians have been given credit for the adage “Work as if it depends on you, pray as if it depends on God.” The earliest attribution for the quote is to St. Augustine. The founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius, is also given credit for it. And one author even ascribes … Continue Reading

Pastoring in Plague-Times

You might say that he showed up at just the wrong time. For it was just after coming back to his home town at the age of 31 to serve as a leader in his church – having been turned down for the job seven years earlier – that a devastating war broke out in … Continue Reading

Global UM Leaders Reimagine a New Methodist Movement

Traditionalist United Methodist leaders from around the world have agreed on an expansive vision for a new, global Methodist church. Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, March 2 – 4, episcopal leaders from Africa, Eurasia, the Philippines, and the United States, were joined by traditionalist clergy, and renewal and reform group leaders from the Confessing Movement, Good … Continue Reading

A Safe Passageway

A woman was walking after dark from her job back to her home. She was traveling on one of the narrow side streets parallel to our church when she was accosted by a man at gunpoint, robbed, and then pistol-whipped. After he left, she quickly sought solace from a friend who lived nearby. Norma comforted … Continue Reading

Catalyzing a Global Church Planting Movement

I stood before the township supervisors, requesting zoning approval so that our new church could build its first facility. “We have thirteen churches in this township already, why do we need another one?” asked one official. It was a fair question, and we did our best to answer. It must have been good enough because … Continue Reading

A New Vision for a New Methodist Movement

It was Dr. George Hunter who once said, “There was a time when we Methodist would say with John Wesley, ‘The world is my parish.’ Today, we far too often say, ‘The parish is my world.’” While Wesley spoke the former words out of his burden to see spiritually anemic Anglicans awakened to Christ, it was Thomas Coke, … Continue Reading

Remembering our First Love

“But you walked away from your first love—why?” Revelation 2:4 (The Message) Several weeks ago at a gathering of district superintendents, a colleague asked what I thought the biggest issue was facing The United Methodist Church. Without hesitation, I ticked off one issue I did not think was our biggest problem: our dispute over our sexual … Continue Reading

Five Reasons Why You Ought to Join the WCA Now

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 … Continue Reading

The Method in Methodism

As traditionalists think about what a new Methodist movement might look like, one of the things we have heard often is how important some form of the name “Methodist” is. People have a lot of reasons for preferring that name, from connecting to our theological heritage to maintaining continuity with our organizational past. A word … Continue Reading

Embracing a New Beginning

With the recent announcement of the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation, and now the release of its implementing legislation, many United Methodists are focusing on next steps. The protocol has now been endorsed by seven major advocacy groups that have often been at odds with one another: The Confessing Movement, Good News, Mainstream UMC, Reconciling … Continue Reading

Reservations and Hope about the Protocol

Will The United Methodist Church separate into two or more denominations? Only its General Conference can say for sure. The recently announced “Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation” has gained a good deal of traction across the UM connection. The press and social media plus the blogosphere have been reporting things as if the … Continue Reading

Fierce

This is an excerpt from Jennifer Cowart’s women’s Bible study book Fierce: Women of the Bible Who Changed the World, published by Abingdon Press. The word fierce is trendy. It’s used to describe women who are supermodels, extreme athletes, and high-level executives. It describes women who are at the top of their game and making a difference in … Continue Reading

Why I Said Yes to Prayer

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two … Continue Reading

An Invitation to Work Together

I was recently talking with someone on the other side of the denominational divide about the impact of the release of “The Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation.” We shared that since its release most of the conflict between the theological camps of The United Methodist Church has lessened, while debate within the various … Continue Reading

Life’s Too Short

I spent most of my childhood and adolescence pursuing a two-fold dream: one, to become the Texas state champion in tennis for kids my age; and two, to use that state championship as a catapult into a pro tennis career. While Dream number one ultimately did happen, you may be able to ascertain from the … Continue Reading

Leaning Forward: Why I Support the Separation Plan

For years there has been tension among traditionalist United Methodists between those leaning in and those leaning out – that is, between some who wanted simply to leave The United Methodist Church, and others who felt called to stay and contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). I have been among … Continue Reading

An Invitation to Stop Fighting and Heal our Souls

When “The Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation” was released earlier this month it generated a wave of reactions across The United Methodist Church. I have not been surprised by the varied responses. It has been my experience that each step in the process toward some form of amicable separation brings with it another … Continue Reading

A Protocol for Peace

He’s not exactly a theologian, but we could perhaps call him a prophet of sorts. For six years before the United Methodist Church was even formed, Neil Sedaka got it right in his signature song of 1962: “Breaking Up is Hard to Do.” And that is so not only because there are numerous challenges as to how … Continue Reading

Pressing On: Our Journey to a New Future

“Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3.13-14 NRSV). With these words to the Philippians, Paul … Continue Reading

Count Me In

I have been on social media enough in the last few days to know that the latest plan for denominational separation along theological lines is not without its detractors. I’m not among them. This agreement comes to me as a deep relief. For several years I have worked as a member of a much larger … Continue Reading

Why a Mediated Negotiation?

This year, The United Methodist Church is 52 years old. Of course, the Methodist movement, currently composed of approximately 80 distinct Methodist denominations worldwide, is much older than that. The UM Church was formed from the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968. Methodism, as with all parts of … Continue Reading

Key Bishops and Advocacy Group Leaders Propose Plan of Separation

A prominent group of 16 United Methodists released a detailed proposal today calling for an amicable separation of The United Methodist Church. The group included individuals representing all the major advocacy organizations affiliated with the church and eight bishops from around the world, including Bishop Kenneth Carter, current president of the Council of Bishops, and Bishop Cynthia … Continue Reading

Great News!

I have spent my share of nights far away from civilization under star-filled skies listening to the sounds of God’s creation all around me. If you are in a reflective mood, you are confronted with your insignificance in the grand scheme of things. One can feel pretty small and vulnerable in such a setting. The … Continue Reading

On the Third Day He Got Up!

In a moving, joyful, and celebratory sermon based on the great Resurrection chapter 15 in St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, the Rev. Kenneth Levingston preached, “’[Jesus] was buried,’ Paul writes. I think he wants to make sure we don’t think about this metaphorically and allegorically. Paul wants us to know he was buried, … Continue Reading

A Time for Signs and Wonders, Not Sighs and Whiners

In an inspired and powerful presentation at “Transformed! the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Fourth Global Gathering” at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on November 9, 2019, the Rev. Shane Bishop said, “A failure to embrace the ministry of the Holy Spirit has produced a disconnect and a lack of firepower in the church today. The … Continue Reading

Called Out of the Darkness into His Wonderful Light

“My entire life is enveloped by my relationship with Jesus and His church,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette as he delivered the major presentation of the day at “Transformed! the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Fourth Global Gathering” at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, November 9, 2019. As he continued to share his story, … Continue Reading