The United Methodist Church has been called to a season of prayer and respectful conversation.
Last week’s MIConnect presented two diverse perspectives concerning the Book of Discipline and issues and practices relating to homosexuality. “The Next Methodism” is a topic for discussion emerging from David F. Watson’s blog, “Four marks of the next Methodism.” This week we add thoughts on the “next Methodism” shared by the Rev. Jarrod Johnson who blogs at “The Liturgy Nerd.”
Pastoring in the next Methodism
Union Coffee UMC
Over the last few weeks we’ve seen a new trend in the UMC blogosphere, a fun thought exercise dubbed “The Next Methodism.” Pastors, professors, and laity have been offering their hopes and dreams for the United Methodist Church, which usually entails getting back to our roots, both in the early church as well as the early Methodist Movement. Most of the writers long for the time when our movement was still a movement … Vibrant and growing, attending to the means of grace, creating close community, and reaching new people in the name of Jesus with our specific brand of holiness.
Here is my offering: the Next Methodism is already here.
And I had the great privilege to pastor within it for the last year.
From July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017 I served as a Path1 High Impact Church Planting Resident at Union Coffee, a new UMC church start in north Dallas. A coffee shop, a non-profit, and a super-Methodist faith community.
But it doesn’t look like it. At least, not until you dig in. After all, how many UMCs are open from 7am to 10pm just about every day, inviting the whole neighborhood in to live, work, and drink amazing coffee? Of course, there’s worship too … Just not on Sunday mornings. Worship is Sunday night and Tuesday night, and entirely contextual to the communities they reach.
The Next Methodism is already here. Here are a few things that I’ve found, that my peers across the connection think aren’t already here in abundance. Read more.
Four marks of the next Methodism
DAVID F. WATSON
Assoc. Professor of New Testament, United Theological Seminary
Let’s face it: no one really knows what’s going to happen over the next few years within The United Methodist Church. Division? Restructuring? Fragmentation? Slow demise? Despite widespread conjecture and one or two wild conspiracy theories, your guess is as good as mine.
The Wesleyan movement, however, is much larger than The United Methodist Church. At its core this movement is dynamic, revivalistic and evangelistic, and in many places in the world Wesleyan and Methodist communities are in the midst of revival.
I believe we can have revival here, too. Yes, even in the United States, we can have revival. In fact, I believe we will have a Wesleyan revival in which the awakening taking place in the global South will catch fire in North America. In 2015 I wrote briefly about Christians in the global South in a post called “The Next Methodism.” Since that time, I’ve thought a great deal about what it might look like for that revival to come to the United States. Were this to happen, I believe it would involve four characteristics, which I’ll discuss briefly below. Read more.
What middle am I in?
Senior Pastor, Foundry UMC, Washington, D.C.
Nearly ten years ago at a dinner in New York City, I was stunned when someone at my table declared clearly that there is really no point in dialogue or relationship with those whose beliefs will not be conformed to your own.
I didn’t accept such a claim then and, as a person formed in and by the Wesleyan way, I don’t accept that claim now.
Even so, during the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference session, I learned some of my colleagues were confused to find my name listed among the individuals who recently initiated a movement described as part of the “Methodist middle.” The United Methodist News Service cited this movement as evidence that “the United Methodist Church has a ‘vibrant’ center that can keep the denomination strong despite the damaging debates around division” over the issue of the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals in the life and clergy of the United Methodist Church.
On more than one occasion, a colleague said to me, “What ‘middle’ are you in?” Read more.