Andrew Conard shares his thougths about the demise of GracePoint UMC after the senior pastor led most of the congregation out of the United Methodist Church to start a new congregation. (News story about the closing of GracePoint UMC here.)
I’m too far away from this story to know what really happened or understand it all. I gather some people view this as a sign that sinking a lot of denominational resources into new church plants is a bad idea.
I have a hard time with that argument. It is like arguing that because some kids grow up and move out of the house we should stop having babies. The UMC nurtured and supported this new congregation through is early years. Now the local church has decided it cannot thrive within the framework of the UMC. I regret that, but that is not a sign of failure or wasted investment.
GracePoint UMC was a mission activity. When we spend money to support pastors in Africa, we do not considered it wasted money because we do not get a return on our investment.
The denomination should expect some church plants to fail. It should expect some to thrive. And it should expect some to grow rebellious and strike out on their own. It is the nature of the thing.
It is a good thing to have a denomination bold enough to act even though some of its children will leave the nest and never come back. So much better than a denomination that risks nothing in pursuit of its mission.