Not to long ago, Dan Dick suggested the United Methodist Church needed reread the 100 paragraphs in the Book of Discipline. I took him up on the suggestion, and I have to say it leaves me wondering what all the fuss about Call to Action is for.
If we’d just spend our time doing what we already claim to be about, we would not need to spend so much time and money trying to manufacture enthusiasm for another top-down program of renewal.
Can it be said any plainer than paragraph 129?
Faithful Ministry — The people of God, who are the church made visible in the world, must convince the world of the reality of the gospel or leave it unconvinced. There can be no evasion or delegation of this responsibility; the church is either faithful as a witnessing and serving community, or it loses its vitality and its impact on an unbelieving world.
It even uses the magic word “vitality.”
We don’t need thousands of dollars spent on consultants (too late) and public relations campaigns within the church to gin up momentum for a raft of legislation at General Conference.
Let’s just get together – at local churches and at annual conferences – and read paragraph 129 and talk about what it means. Let’s ask each other: By that definition of faithful ministry, are we being faithful? Is our congregation? Is our conference? Why or why not?
If we don’t like that paragraph, we can find many other places to start. The answers will be interesting, I bet.
The advantage of this plan is that it requires no legislation from General Conference. We already have the resources we need to do it in every pastor’s office. And the answers we come up with will almost always fit the places from which they come.