2019 Update: Lack of Membership Audits Question General Conference Representation



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When you wonder why Oregon-Idaho is the smallest conference in the USA or the Western Jurisdiction is melting, this column is one of the main answers. Most of us try to spend time finding and nurturing the lost sheep rather than see how quickly we can remove people from our membership rolls.

If you are outraged by Republican efforts not to count everyone but are comfortable with the rhetoric in this column, then your "principles" change with the issue. Since I am a traditional United Methodist who is also a Democrat, I am unhappy with both.

Creed S Pogue more than 2 years ago

Membership Audits

Before a member is removed, all church members are expected to contact those who have not been present in any recorded fashion for a year or two or more and invite them to reactivate. But with no response, no presence, gifts, service or witness (we can only hope for prayers) despite contact from fellow church members, it is only honest to admit that these departed members are not returning. Removing them at a charge/church conference is entirely permissible.

As a Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrar, I know all about efforts to disenfranchise voters. I also know that if a person moves, he/she must re-register or be removed from the rolls. If he/she moves out of state, removal is automatic. If he/she does not vote in several successive elections, removal is automatic. Let's apply that to church membership. If a person moves, the church needs to be notified. If a person moves out of state, he/she likely cannot participate in the local church with "presence, gifts, service and witness". If a person cannot be located after due diligence on the church's part, he/she should be considered unavailable for the church's further outreach. No church I've ever served has acted "quickly" to "remove people from our membership rolls". But in fairness, they have eventually acted because it's false to claim people as members when you don't know where they are and have no record of their participation for several years.

Jeanne D Devine more than 2 years ago

Membership audits

Not news

Since I came in on this UM movie in 2000. It has been common knowledge among clergy that no bishop wanted honest membership numbers

Ah! But follow the ever shrinking donated dollars to see the true sinking ship emerges. No amount of lies can heal the ever declining dying UMC

Richard F Hicks more than 2 years ago

I have to agre

I don’t often agree with Rev. Smith, but the points he makes in this article make perfect sense. Realistic membership numbers makes for fair representation

John more than 2 years ago