Thoughts on the Call to Action report

by Jacob Juncker

The UMC has just finished a massive study on the state of the church.  In a nutshell, the study found that the church has to undergo “widespread reform.”  I encourage you to read the synopsis and full report, go here.

But, what if the “church”–i.e. local congregations–aren’t ready for “widespread reform,” even if its beneficial and necessary?  It seems to me that while clergy can re-enforce the status quo, it is the local congregation that sets the status quo.  Leadership–lay and clergy–must be bold in rallying people and inspiring a deeper, ever-growing faith.  In reading commentary about the report, I found this one by Dan Dick.  I sympathize with and appreciate his comments:

Our short-term future is going to be a continued loss of members.  The main decision we have to make is this: do we lose those with a heart for Jesus Christ and a desire to become Christian disciples by pandering to the less engaged and try to attract more warm bodies (hopefully will warm wallets), or do we raise the bar, get serious about transformative discipleship at the risk of losing the Sunday pew-sitters and the Christian consumers and the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, what-will-you-do-for-me-next” pay-as-you-go, spiritual but not religious crowd?

Harsh?  You betcha.  I am tired of being sold-out.  We have a church of one million highly motivated, giving, loving, serving, sacrificing Christian men and women propping up a dinosaur of an additional 6.5 million people along for the ride.  We do not have the courage to challenge people with a “are you serious about this or not” message, because the 6.5 million hold assets we want and need and we cannot risk losing more money.  Well, discipleship isn’t that simple.  We cannot have our cake and eat it, too.  Discipleship has costs.  If we don’t want to pay them, that’s fine, but let’s stop looking for “disciple-lite” alternatives. Watering down the Christian faith is not the answer.

If you have a minute, I invite you to read the entire post by Dan Dick: “A Call to Auction.”