Confidence for the Future

A Message from the Wesleyan Covenant Association “We’re an evangelical, orthodox congregation in an annual conference that leans progressive. We’re growing so fast that we desperately need to expand our physical plant. We have the funds on hand to put a shovel in the ground right now, but we’re reluctant to move forward given all […]

Harvesting Fruit from Easter

This year was a very different Holy Week and Easter for me. For the first time since 1995, I was not serving a local church and preaching at multiple services. Although disorienting, I found the change had its benefits – wonderful time to worship God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, special time spent with […]

Fully Alive

“I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” Perspective matters. We have been sold a bill of goods. Secular culture regards death as an end point.  You are born, you live and then you die. The world tells us the most important things happen in the space […]

Kevin Watson, Assistant Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, raises important questions about the One Church Model being advanced by the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. Contextualization, The One Church Model, and The #UMC By Kevin Watson […]

So Now What?

As United Methodists, we are methodical. We are a people bound together by order and discipline. We benefit from one of the fairest systems of church government that exists. Any United Methodist can petition our church’s supreme legislative body, the General Conference, to change our church’s order and discipline. Our church is global. Our General […]

One Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sins

After coming to personal faith in Christ as a 19-year old, I remember talking to my old junior high band director who was also a pastor. I shared my excitement about my new-found faith, and asked if I should be baptized again, since I had only been baptized an infant, and wasn’t sure that it […]

Living Separate and Apart

In this third of four articles addressing efforts by The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops (COB) to resolve our denomination’s irreconcilable differences, we examine the final option still under study by the church’s leadership — the “Multi-Branch, One Church Model.”  The multi-branch approach is an attempt to permit United Methodists to sort themselves out […]

One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church

The most diverse gathering of people I have ever encountered participated in a Bible study program in Paris. We came from six continents, claimed many different primary languages and were almost as many skin colors. We came from a global variety of Protestant denominations and Roman Catholic churches. We had economic statuses that ranged from […]

Should We Each Do What Is Right In Our Own Eyes

The first article in this series addressed the present state of The United Methodist Church. Internal and irreconcilable differences, particularly in the U.S., have sapped the church’s energies leading to declining membership and worship attendance. The rate of decline is only accelerating. Well over half of the approximately 32,000 local UM churches in the U.S. average less […]

A Moment In Time

The moment of decision is drawing closer for The United Methodist Church. For many months, we have awaited the plan(s) the Council of Bishops (the “COB”) will recommend to the special called General Conference to resolve the irreconcilable differences that divide the UM Church. Our Book of Discipline has been clear about our sexual ethics, definition of […]

The Holy Spirit is Lord

“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.” The Nicene Creed contains the most controversial words in all of Christendom. The gradual acceptance of the phrase “and the […]

Our Judge & His Kingdom

I went to college at two United Methodist institutions. As a Christ-follower, I attended the weekly Sunday morning worship service in the chapel and was involved in various on-campus ministries. I was also exposed to the religious studies faculty and pre-ministry students as I took my liberal arts requirements. During those four years, I was […]

He Rose Again

Years ago my husband was leading a Sunday School class when one of the regular attenders spoke up and said, “I believe all the stuff in the Bible except that one thing about the Resurrection. A guy coming back to life after three days is just too much for me.” My mouth literally fell open; […]

“Church Sees Record Giving” and the Rest of the Story

Given a recent headline United Methodists could be forgiven for assuming the UM Church’s financial position is not just on solid ground, but that it has been setting records the past several years. A January 31 United Methodist News Service (UMNS) article was headlined “For 4th year, church sees record giving.” The “record giving” has nothing […]

Crucified, Suffered, and Buried

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. When you read the Nicene Creed slowly, almost devotionally, it can be jarring to move from those soaring lines about Jesus as Lord, eternally begotten, light from light, one Being with the Father, creator, and incarnate by the power of […]

The Beauty of the Incarnation

“For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.” How can the God who created the heavens and the earth become a part of his creation? That question speaks directly into the heart of the […]

Uniting Methodists Caucus Advocates For Unity Petitions that Will Bring Disunity

At its inaugural 2016 gathering over 1,800 attendees affirmed the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s “Chicago Statement.” It called on the Council of Bishops to “bring forth a recommendation that would definitively resolve our debate over The United Methodist Church’s sexual ethics and its understanding of marriage.” It stated the best way forward was to adopt a […]

Women As Christian Leaders, Preachers & Teachers

Recently, John Piper, chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, responded on his weekly podcast, desiringGod, to a question submitted by a listener: “Should women be hired as seminary professors?”  Piper, a complementarian, holds that males and females complement each other in their different roles and duties in both the home and the church. In the church, he […]

Through Him All Things Were Made

Some time ago I was at a conference where the presenter ended a prayer by praying “In the name of the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. Amen.” My head popped up to see if anyone around me had noticed or reacted to the substitution used for the names of the Trinity, but the room seemed to […]

The God of Self-Giving Love

“We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.” The early Christians made a remarkable claim: the God of all the universe–who had called all things into […]

The Same God Throughout The Ages

At the October, 2016 inaugural gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) in Chicago, I was one of several African United Methodist leaders who addressed the gathering. We made a presentation about why we (clergy and laity) were attracted to the WCA. We noted that, we had perceived the WCA as a “movement committed to […]

WCA Responds to President Trump’s Recent Reported Comments

Like all United Methodists, The Wesleyan Covenant Association is honored to call many people in the nations of Africa and the nation of Haiti our brothers and sisters in Christ. Three members of the WCA’s governing council are from Liberia, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are recognized leaders around the UM connection, […]

An Ancient Creed for the Present and the Future

With this issue of Outlook the Wesleyan Covenant Association begins a 12 part series on the Nicene Creed. Dr. Bill Arnold, Professor of Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary and WCA Council member, introduces the series by reflecting on the creed’s role in the history of the church in general and the Methodist movement in […]

The Bad News and The Good News

Although not widely reported, average weekly worship attendance in The United Methodist Church (U.S.) dropped by a record 3.3 percent from 2015 to 2016. On any given Sunday in 2016 there were 90,500 fewer people worshipping in the denomination’s local churches than in 2015. This decline comes on the heels of two previous record losses […]

Emptied for God’s Purposes

More than 2,000 years ago, Jesus emptied Himself of the privileges of divinity and broke into a world not unlike the world of our day. There was political, social, economic and religious upheaval and uncertainty. At John’s birth, his father, Zechariah, prophesied about his son: “You will tell his people how to find salvation through […]

Unity and Reality

I think most Wesleyan Covenant Association members accept the following as givens: Christians committed to the orthodox faith are richly endowed by the work of the church catholic as expressed in Scripture, the great creeds, and the learned and inspired biblical interpretations of their ancestors. These great resources, they believe, should guide us as we […]

Unity and Division

Can unity of The United Methodist Church be maintained in spite of irreconcilable differences? Some of the proposals advanced by the Commission on a Way Forward (the “COWF”) seek to respond affirmatively. But to what end? The mission statement of the COWF acknowledges, “[M]atters of human sexuality and unity are the presenting issues for a […]

A Call to Commitment, Surrender & Obedience

In his address to the 2017 Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, Bishop Robert Hayes shared a call of commitment, surrender and obedience so that God can ignite the apostolic movement for which we are all praying. “We can get there from here,” Bishop Hayes declared. Here is where “we have focused on everything […]

Preparing for the Future

In his address to the 2017 Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, Rev. Jeff Greenway, pastor of Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church and chairperson of the Council of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, addressed what we as leaders need to be doing to prepare for the change which is coming to The United Methodist Church. “Segments […]

Contingency Planning and Preparations for the Future

The 2016 General Conference came closer to addressing the irreconcilable conflict in The United Methodist Church (the “UM Church”) than any prior church-wide gathering.  The General Conference was confronted with unprecedented circumstances.  Conflict over doctrinal and ethical issues was not new.  However, sustained and organized disobedience of the church’s settled and agreed upon doctrine and […]

Lessons From Africa

In his address to the 2017 Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, Rev. Forbes Matonga, pastor in charge of Nyadire Mission in Zimbabwe and Secretary of the Africa Central Conference, addressed the global nature of The United Methodist Church and lessons that can be learned from the rapid growth of The United Methodist Church […]

Developing Fully Devoted Disciples of Jesus

Rev. Rob Renfroe, pastor of discipleship at The Woodlands United Methodist Church in The Woodlands, Texas (Texas Conference), focused on our mission of developing fully devoted disciples of Jesus in his address to the 2017 Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association.  “I want to glorify my Lord and Savior, and I want to be […]

Breathing Forth the Praise of God

On July 18, 1773, John Wesley penned a letter to his sister who was “encumbered with worldly business.”  Wesley wrote: Prayer and thanksgiving is the vital breath That keeps the spirit of man from death: For prayer attracts into the living soul The life that fills the universe whole; And giving thanks is breathing forth […]

The Gospel Imperative of Reaching People for Jesus

Rev. Shane Bishop, senior pastor of Christ Church, a multi-site church in Fairview Heights, Illinois (the Illinois Great Rivers Conference), focused on the Gospel imperative of reaching people for Jesus Christ, and the need for awakening and revival in our churches in his address to the 2017 Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association.  Bishop […]

A Milepost on the Way Forward

In this week’s post, the Rev. Chris Ritter analyzes three preliminary options for definitively resolving The United Methodist Church’s debate over its sexual ethics, teachings on marriage, and it ordination standards. The Commission on a Way Forward recently shared the potential options with the Council of Bishops, which in turn shared them with the whole […]

A Call For Risk-Taking, Christ-Centered Leadership

Jennifer Cowart, a lay woman and executive pastor of Harvest Church in Warner Robins, Georgia, challenged those assembled at the 2017 Global Gathering of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, to respond to God’s call to be risk-taking, Christ-centered leaders in this generation.  Cowart declared, “We need more Jesus people to show up in tough situations – […]

WCA President’s Message Casts Vision for the Church and for the WCA

Rev. Keith Boyette, President of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, shared our vision for the future of the church and for the WCA.  Boyette noted, “At our best, Methodism has never lost sight of its calling to be an apostolic movement advancing the Kingdom of God globally.”  Boyette declared, “In the midst of uncertainty, we will […]

Longing For A Better Way Forward

After six meetings held over ten months, the Commission on a Way Forward, presented its preliminary report to the Council of Bishops (“COB”) earlier this week.  At its fall meeting, the COB considered the report’s merits, which included sketches of three models for proceeding forward, but did not express a preference for any one of […]

2017 Global Gathering Presentations

Rev. Kenneth Levingston, pastor of Jones Memorial United Methodist Church in Houston, TX, preached a powerful message based on Ezekiel 37 – “Can These Bones Live?”  Rev. Levingston declares that the passage is not about the bones, but about the “Spirit of the Living God which is alive and active and calling into life that […]