Sunday is coming. Soon, many of the faithful will find themselves in United Methodist churches that dot nearly every corner of this country; disparate buildings where they’ll gather under the guise of religion, of faith, of goodness.
Whether set in trappings that are ancient or modern, filled with polished pews, prayer mats, or plush concert seating—a multitude will leave their homes and purposefully head to those places to be part of redemptive community that seeks to perpetuate the heart of God in the world.
You may be among the faithful making this weekly pilgrimage, and whether you’ve spent a month or a lifetime at your current spiritual home, I’m suggesting this might be a good time to leave it.
The United Methodist denomination is experiencing a real-time schism generated by its leaders and the end is nowhere in site. Many of its leaders are professing to be faithful while acting unfaithful to the people who they serve.
If there was ever a time when the members of the local Methodist church should be visible and vocal it should be now.
If there was ever a moment moral leaders were made for, it is this one.
If there was ever a day where spiritual leaders should stand bravely in front of their faithful and speak the hardest of truths, complaint and mass exodus be damned—it should be this one.
But it probably won’t happen.
Many pastors will continue to remain silent. They will deftly dance around the conversation and preach around the issues. They will sedate the congregation with intentionally vague prayers that pretend to speak but actually say nothing. They will attempt to distract their flocks for an hour or so, and sidestep the urgency outside their buildings, because they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to brave the turbulence that taking bold stands creates.
You can’t let them be right.
Every Methodist pastor should be standing before their people and specifically naming the crisis, the cause of the crisis and how the crisis can be solved. They should be explicitly condemning those who are taking steps to preserve the institution at all cost and driving people away rather than fixing the problems within it.
If not, you may want to ask yourself what the point is and why you need to stay another day.
If you are keeping company whose faith is quiet, you may need to empty the pews and exit the buildings, and go loudly speak the words of truth and compassion and justice that need to be spoken right now. You may need to follow your deepest faith convictions right out the door and toward the families assailed in these moments. If the people of God where you gather this week, will not bring mercy, love, and goodness while such things are in such great demand—that may be your cue to exit.
You may need to leave the denomination to find your religion.
If you wish to learn how to lead your faith community out of the United Methodist denomination, please download our free guide and contact a professional at Dalton & Tomich PLC to assist you with paving the path to a new beginning.