January 30, 2012

A Chance for Change? :: Part II

This is Part II (read Part I here) of a blog series talking about the chance for change within The United Methodist Church. In this post I will be focusing on change at the General Conference level, which is the primary decision making body for the entire denomination. This body of delegates meets every 4 years and will be meeting this year, April 24-May 4, in Tampa, FL.

I admit that I am unaware of all the various proposals, petitions, legislations, etc. that sit before the General Conference, so, having said that, I will touch on a couple that are changes I think could be helpful for our denomination. My hope and prayer is if we agree on nothing else, we would agree that something needs to change at the very least.

Proposed Restructuring 
I’m big into organization structures and efficiencies. I like to change things structurally and move pieces/people around but I don’t believe restructuring alone necessarily equals meaningful change. If you have the wrong pieces to start with and simply move them around, you still have wrong pieces, just in different places. I think the saying goes something like…right people, right bus, right seats.

I do not share the concern of consolidated power under the bishops. While the “set-aside” bishop reminds me of the office of Pope from my Roman Catholic upbringing, the Council of Bishops, the General Council for Strategy and Oversight, and the Center for Connectional Mission and Ministry seem so disconnected from local church ministry that the impact of such restructuring would be minimally felt.

I believe issues that address streamlining (overhauling?) the ordination process, an appointment system that provides opportunities for effective clergy, and theological issues that advance the mission of the Gospel would bring about more significant, meaningful, and overarching change to our denomination.

Fellow UMC twitter friend @halehawk suggested “A More Equitable Salary” petition to the General Conference. Which changes do you support or suggest?