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CLUB 444: The First United Church of the Disgruntled. Well, Not THE First.

August 18, 2022

Michael Beck speaks —

To my non-church world friends, please excuse a little rant. Just scroll along, nothing to see here.

The focus of our ministry is not proselytization but rather evangelization. Meaning, we are not focused on attracting already Christians playing church musical chairs, but new believers not connected to any church.

Nevertheless, God sends mature believers who want to come partner in our ministry and nurture young Christians. We pray for them to find us and thank God when they come.

We also get our fair share of disgruntled church hoppers. I think I’ve been in ministry long enough to know we cannot build a church with those kinds of people. As they share with me what was wrong with the last pastor, the last church, the politics, the failure of expectations, and most frequently what they are against, I know one day they will likely be saying those same things about me to the next pastor.

This is what I don’t understand about the WCA. Imagine building an entire church of disgruntled church hoppers. A group of people who define themselves by what and who they are against. Who claim a commitment to upholding Biblical authority, while “brothers and sisters go to court against one another, and this before the unbelievers” (1 Cor 6:6), literally suing fellow siblings in a highly publicized ordeal.

I’m coaching three of the young pastors in some of the congregations involved in the lawsuit. In each scenario, it’s a small group of people with a lot of power, bullying others into disaffiliating in a manipulative and dishonest way. It’s a very simple process to disaffiliate. Call a charge conference, take a congregational vote, and if there’s a majority, go through with the rest of the process. In most of these congregations, that vote would not pass, and so the back-door tactics.

Now, encouraging congregations to withhold apportionments? From the very community that birthed you, invested in you, nurtured you in the faith? There is only one word to describe all this… hypocrisy.

All I can say is good luck with that.

This is not “the way, truth, and life” of Jesus. Not even close.

If I were to leave the UMC, I would not expect to take people, buildings, and money with me. I would go into the community God was calling me to, pray, connect with people, and plant a church. If we think changing the logo on the door and becoming more exclusive will somehow magically help us “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” we are sadly mistaken.

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