We have a great futureGabriella Kopas
Perhaps the greatest benefit of Christianity is hope. We are not people who think something might happen. We are the people of the book, and we know how it all ends. That should give us great confidence.
In 2 Timothy 2, Paul writes about this confidence:
If we died with him we shall also live with him,
If we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us.
If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
What a great encouragement, what a dose of hope. Our faith, our everyday walk with Christ, has a great foundation – the Rock we are built on. If we believe in this truth, then the rest of it also applies: we know what happens after we leave our earthly existence and what our task will be in eternity. We also know what the consequences will be if we choose to leave this wonderful path. Yet, we are reassured that Christ will never do so.
This is the marvelous and good news of the Gospel – about this life and the eternal one.
Lately, however, I found in these words great joy and comfort even in the present context of our waiting to see the end of the decades-long struggle of the UMC. Sure, these are trying times – and they are so in many different ways. But let us fix our eyes on Jesus and seek His comfort in all things.
If your church, district or conference is in the process of prayerful consideration of the options on the table, there is no need to feel anxious. Pray and believe that the Head of the Church (much bigger than the UMC or GMC, for that matter) will guide you all to make a wise and informed decision together. Look for information, compare everything with the Word of God and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit (we tend to underestimate this part, please do it).
If your church, district or conference is united, but there are still some voting to be organised and some waiting until you can join the Global Methodist Church, speed up what you can (by praying, discussing, and seeking information) but again, do so in great peace and confidence. You already know what the destination is. You only need to wait until the train departs. (Please, hear me, I know this is hard for some of us. I count myself into this group so that I will keep you in my prayers.)
Suppose you are ready to leave and align with the traditional Methodist family (GMC), but your church or conference is not united in his matter. In that case, your situation can be both easy and complicated at the same time (depending on how you perceive it). It is really up to you to make the decision. You can join the closest traditional Methodist fellowship (if not in person, nowadays, we have the great virtual option). If there are more of you, you can start to gather as a simple house church and multiply through evangelistic effort shared by all its members (if you need tips on how to start, please, contact me). Thirdly, if you are the only church wanting to leave the UMC, you can do so by a vote at your church conference. Be sure to contact your superintendent and schedule it before the next Annual Conference. If the majority of the members votes in favour, you then inform the Annual Conference about it and negotiate the rest on that level.
Although we all thought the UMC is a global church and hence all Methodists are the same (at least, I thought it was the case), the latest developments show there are great differences in what a Methodist church can or cannot do to disaffiliate in different parts of the world.
But there is no reason to lose hope. As we read in 2 Timothy, our hope and confidence are in the Lord and His plans – they never change, never alter, and they are the same for every human being. Let us look at this situation as an opportunity to reflect on the past and make some great resolutions as we step out to the next chapter of our journey together as Methodists.
Nothing can hinder you, even though a few roadblocks might appear here and there, but we all are on this ship together. Let us prove faithful, enduring, and full of faith whatever comes our way.