There is an old adage in business that is equally applicable to the leaders within the current United Methodist Church: The institution will preserve the institution at the cost of driving out the members who it seeks to serve. In other words, institutions preserve the problems for which they are the solution rather than solving the problems.
To the surprise of nobody who is following the Methodist Council of Bishops, the Bishops issued a statement last week declaring the Taylor disaffiliation plan to be void. See, here. From a practical standpoint, the action of the Bishops did not matter as many annual conferences simply refused to implement the plan to allow local churches to leave. Most annual conferences either ignored the parameters of the Taylor plan or simply used it as a “base” to a model for leaving by adding in more financial requirements making leaving financially impossible for local churches. The result is that local churches are now required to litigate claims if they wish to leave and keep their property.
To me, this calls to mind Upton Sinclair’s famous line: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” In situations where people will often seek to preserve a problem rather than recognize that it doesn’t need to be that way. There are lots of industries and religious denominations where this is a major issue.
But, of course, the real problem is in how they go about trying to preserve that problem. They will go to great lengths to demonize the solutions. And when the response to problems turns negative, a church plagued by an inability to react remains as complex as ever, right up to the moment where it becomes suddenly and dramatically simpler, which is to say right up to the moment of collapse. Collapse is simply the last remaining method of simplification.
It is more important than ever to prepare for departing the Methodist denomination. Please download our guide on how to leave the United Methodist Church and contact a professional at Dalton & Tomich PLC to create a new beginning for your ministry.