Dan Dick has a glowing review of George Hunter III’s new book The Recovery of a Contagious Methodist Movement. John Leek at his blog has also written positive things about the book. It certainly is on my “to buy” list.
As always with Dan, his review is an opportunity for him to share some of his own experiences. Here’s an anecdote Dan wrote in his review of the book:
I consulted with a church that proudly prints, “God’s love for all!” on its bulletins and newsletters. The “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” banners bracket every entrance to the church. Walking a three block radius of the church, I encountered Vietnamese immigrants, multiple poor and homeless people, multi-racial youth, a couple younger people with handicapping conditions, and lower-economic/lower-educated people running shops along the street. I stopped many and asked what they could tell me about The United Methodist Church. None, I repeat none, of them knew anything about the church or anyone associated with the church. When I met with the leadership that evening, I asked them about the ministry opportunities they saw in their neighborhood. The chair of the church council quipped, “We need to attract the ones with money! We can’t support a church with those people.” One member went on to tell of a former pastor who tried to bring “those” people into the church — and the mass exodus it produced from the long-time members. An older woman remarked, “You can’t expect decent folks to put up with people like that taking over their church.” There was a time when such a sentiment would not have been found in a Methodist church — but that was a long time ago.