Is more money, strategies, the key to UM’s turnaround

Posted: December 4, 2013 by efenster in Ideas
Tags: , , , ,

photoI’ve been attending a conference with United Methodist leaders from across the U.S. to discuss church revitalization and what strategies, resources, and insights can be most helpful to us conference leaders who are responsible for church redevelopment.  This gathering, called Route 122, named for the paragraph in The Book of Disciple that speaks about church vitality, has had some amazing speakers sharing some key insights.  We’ve talked about the eight keys that need to be a part of a conference strategy, trends and their implications, the U Theory, the Healthy Church Initiative (that we in Indiana call the Fruitful Congregation Journey).  All very helpful.

Each morning my personal devotional readings have been from the Book of Acts.  I’ve been reading about the early church and how it grew and spread.  I’ve been thinking about the United Methodist Church and how it is growing by leaps and bounds in Africa, the Philippines, and Asia.  And I’ve been wondering how the early church and the growing edges of the UMC happened without a Route 122 conference?  How did they do it, and how are they doing it, without knowing the eight strategic keys, the U Theory, money, staff (like me), and resources?   What do they have that the UMC in the U.S. seems to lack?

This summer I was fascinated with a proposal by economist and UM leader, Don House, who has concluded–through statistical analysis of lots of UM data–that if the UMC would enlist 1,000 of its churches averaging over 125 in weekly worship and raise $120 million annually, we could turn our denomination around.

All this has gotten me to wondering…is the answer, more education and strategies, more leaders working on revitalization (like me), more money in the hands of our larger churches?  What is it that we also need to consider that is revealed through the early church and the UM churches in the developing parts of the world.  My fear is that is we miss what they can teach us, all our efforts will still not get the job done.

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director for Church Development



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