GracePoint’s liberation from the UMC

The UM Portal has a very well done story about the GracePoint saga.

The founding pastor’s conclusion about how life if so much better outside the UMC closes the story with a note that makes me shudder a bit for the UMC.

On Easter Sunday at GracePoint Community Church, attendance topped 1,200 people. “There’s just such a freedom, that’s all I can tell you—and an excitement,” Mr. Butts said. “When a leader’s willing to step out and take a risk, people are willing to follow that. When you step out and take a faith risk, God meets you right there.”

2 thoughts on “GracePoint’s liberation from the UMC

  1. As a former Wichita resident, I’ve been following this story with sadness. It’s unfortunate that the UMC couldn’t find a way to let Bryson Butts use his talents and gifts within the denominational structure.

    But there are two things that keep jumping out at me:

    First, Butts keeps talking about growth, not discipleship. He appears to have bought into the megachurch mentality that says, let’s accept people and get them in the door. Let’s grow, grow, grow. And I think that’s “success” as defined by our culture. But I’m not so sure God really is more pleased with a group of 1200 people celebrating their freedom than with a committed group of 20 who are actively involved in the work of God’s kingdom.

    Second, I don’t see any hint that GracePoint tried to partner with any other churches in any of their attempts to expand to other parts of town. I can remember when my church (East Heights UMC, located in a wealthy community in southeast Wichita) partnered with Wesley UMC, located in a poor area of town, to provide back-to-school backpacks for all the kids who attended Wesley’s Vacation Bible School. The second year of the program, the kids from the first year invited all their friends, which led to lots of evangelism opportunities for the church.

    I don’t see anything like that coming out of GracePoint. Yes, they’ve done some great things, but in all the stories I’ve seen, I haven’t seen anything about Bryson Butts or GracePoint making an effort to work within the denomination.

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