Could Reorganizing Agencies Boost Church Vitality?

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Social holiness leads to social witness

The Rev. Paul Fleck, pastor of Hamden Plains United Methodist Church in Connecticut, said he sees the plan as diminishing the denomination’s social witness — not empowering local congregations.

“The social witness happens on the macro-level in our church,” he said. “That has nothing to do with the litmus test of fostering vital congregations. Yet, it is extremely important to our mission statement of creating disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, emphasis on transformation of the world.”

A view from the pew: I do not claim to be a Wesleyan scholar, but I have delved into Wesley enough to know that if you want an effective social witness that impacts society, then that requires individuals who can walk the walk and talk the talk of their faith 24/7; it requires people who are comfortable, confident and conversant in their faith. And that is the result of social holiness which is what Wesley's class meetings demonstrated. Everyone loves to tout what a great reformer Wesley was without realizing that the only thing he set out to reform was his own life. Methodism came into existence because Wesley set out on a quest to live a live centered in God 24/7; that quest led him to unexpected places including enabling rank and file people to live a life centered in God 24/7 regardless of their circumstances. Priority #1 for both Charles and John Wesley was to first connect individuals to God and then to each other; and they never wavered from that as being their Priority #1. Wesley started organizing people into classes because some who had heard him preach came to him and asked 'What does this mean for my life?"
The rest is history: God then transformed communities one person at a time. Quit worrying about the macro social witness and start connecting the people in the pew to God and then to each other in a life changing way. But that requires a clear message of who God is and who we are; something the UMC currently does not have!

Ella pauline more than 2 years ago