Pastors, even bishops, have written against it. Church caucuses are against it. Pushback is present among laity and clergy alike. "It can't work... It won't work... It's marketing/corporate language... The statistics are flawed... The death tsunami is a myth... Clergy and churches shouldn't be judged by numbers; there are better ways to measure churches..." You can probably add a few more. Before we can even implement it, some folks want Call to Action and Vital Congregations rescinded. Some have gone so far to say that it's dead on arrival.
No one can argue that the UMC is hurting in every way measurable and in some ways immeasurable. Our membership continues to fall even though our population continues to rise. Resources are starting to dwindle. Reassessment and realignment of denominational boards and agencies is causing distress and frustration. An upcoming General Conference and proposed legislation and resolutions are causing angst. It is very easy to give in to a climate of fear and go into panic or survival mode.
It may be helpful to be reminded of Wesley's vision for the Methodist movement: to renew the Anglican Church, to bring scriptural holiness to the lands, and to "flee from the wrath to come," (words said first by John the Baptist, not John Wesley). At best, he hoped that we'd do a 180° - but I fear that we have done a 360°... coming full circle back to a church that just about resembled what Wesley was trying to reform. Even Wesley himself caved a little, taking matters in hand and ordaining Francis Coke a superintendent so that America could have some clergymen. Coke ordained Asbury, and before you know it we had bishops AND a church. Many historians and theologians lament over this move, as this fledgling but highly successful missional movement morphed into a Church and churches.
Like many things, what we evolved into could have been avoidable. Many outside of Methodism have told me how wonderful the Method of Methodism is, but how we have given the Method away - and I have to agree. Methodists should be teaching others in Christendom about mission, discipleship, holiness, and piety, for those were the things that we were founded upon and took on as our vision for ministry. And like so many things, success bred comfort. We were, for a while, able to build churches, universities, and mission societies to fulfill our mission to make disciples for Christ. Now, we realize we cannot do as much as we once did; indeed, we are in danger of not being to support what we already have.