Is that fair, equitable, or just? That is a completely different question. But the real question should boil down to this: what is best for the Kingdom? What is best for the Church and the lay folks we serve? Clergy are to serve, not be served, per ordination vows. If merging our conferences is the best thing theologically and missionally, shouldn't we be doing it regardless of the costs? That should be the only issue that is important. Are we willing to take the microphone and address that issue?
Ed Stetzer, who is the President of Lifeway Research of the Southern Baptist Church, says that cultural decline is not a good excuse for denominational decline; indeed, the only way the church will grow and take discipleship seriously means change. He sadly added, "Denominations don't change until the pain of staying the same grows greater than the pain of changing." If he's right, we're in for a lot more pain.
The Good News is that God is God, and He still puts up with us. If the UMC doesn't survive, God will use another means to do Kingdom work. As we stand right now, I suspect we have come full circle to where John Wesley started - we have become what he sought to renew. But this could be a very exciting time for the people called Methodists: we could reclaim the spirit that birthed us into a world that desperately needs it. The question is: will we?
I still like my job. More to the point, I am still humbled that God would use me in this way. May God continue to humble all of us into doing whatever it takes to make disciples for Jesus Christ.