I recently read Rev. Shane Bishop’s blog post about where he is at regarding what is going on in The United Methodist Church. Much of the post resonated with me. Some of it did not. I can identify with wanting to stay in the middle. I can identify with wanting to focus on the local church. I can identify with focusing on evangelism and discipleship. That is what I do. I focus my attention on the church and the community I serve. I don’t have time for denominational politics and figuring out how we go forward. I am not a member of Good News, Reconciling Ministries Network, the WCA, or any other group.
Recently several of my church members asked me where I was with all this. The truth of the matter is simple…I really don’t know where I stand. (And I realize as quickly as I write this that there will be people who are mad at me for not being a supporter of one of the many plans.) The truth is that my church will be hurt no matter what plan passes in February 2019, and that gives me grief. I will hurt because the people I love, serve, and care for will be hurt.No matter which way forward we take it will make us less. Click To Tweet
So I told my church members that I will do what I can do, and what I can do is fast and pray.
Every day I pray for my church. I pray for the people in my church that have shared their personal struggles and lives with me.
I pray for our clergy. I pray for my friends who are on the right and the left of me. I pray for those who I am close to and I pray for those with whom I don’t agree.
I pray for our bishops. They have been given an impossible task and have taken criticism from all sides. I have seen horrible words used to describe them that no one deserves. They are appointed to lead us in this time. They need our support and our prayers. They need our grace.
I pray for the general conference delegates. They have been tasked with an enormous task. They will face incredible pressure as February 2019 gets closer. I ask God to give them wisdom and guidance. I pray for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
I pray for our denomination. We are struggling right now. We have a lot of anxiety and unrest in our denomination. We don’t know what the future will bring and it has caused considerable worry. I pray for a revival of our Methodist movement. I pray our mission becomes primary as we reclaim our role as evangelists to a new frontier. I pray for peace and joy. I pray for God to continue to work in us and through us. I pray we will stop calling each other names and assuming the worst about our brothers and sisters. I pray we will find a way to grow where so many other denominations have fallen.
On Fridays, I fast and pray. When I find myself getting hungry, I pray that God will heal the UMC. The hunger pangs remind me to pray that God will fill us all. I fast to remind myself that I am part of a larger body of people who are praying and fasting too. I know that my prayers join so many others prayers in praying for The United Methodist Church.