‘What’s going to happen to my church?’


What’s going to happen to my church?’
The question was motivated by both concern and fear. She told me that she had been a Methodist all her life and had no desire to change denominations.  I did my best to explain our current Methodist dilemma and to assure her that no one was going to force her out of her church and that at the current time, there was no reason for any United Methodist church to disaffiliate.
Anxiety, fear, and worry are key building blocks in the assault arsenal of our enemy. Anxiety, fear, and worry contribute to the growing sense of hopelessness that is eating away at the very fabric of our society and our denomination. The enemy continues to sow seeds of doubt, doom, and destruction because of a hatred for Jesus Christ and all those claiming allegiance to the Kingdom of God. The United Methodist family is in a state of confusion and disarray that continues to keep us sidetracked from our primary mission of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
It is amazing how Christians so quickly and easily join in fighting one another while ignoring the real enemy. Jesus, just as he wept over Jerusalem, is surely weeping over his dysfunctional, disjointed, divided body.  One of the last earthly prayers of Jesus, prior to his crucifixion, was a prayer for our unity.  Jesus is committed to assisting us in achieving wholeness, health, and vitality. Jesus has a vested interest in our unity.
I pray for our pastors and lay leaders that they will be “a non-anxious presence pointing people to the hope that is ours in Jesus Christ.” Leaders set the pace!  Perhaps if we, as leaders, spent less time on Facebook and more time on our faces pleading the promises of HIS BOOK, we will begin to see our constituents become filled with the air of Holy Spirit potential rather than being drained by disappointment and despair.  Jesus encourages us to put the light on a lampstand and not hide it under a bowl.
The future of “our church” is up to us.  The future of our Annual Conference is up to us. We can passively throw up our hands and throw in the towel of surrender or we can recognize this moment for what it is; an opportunity to showcase the power of our resurrected Lord!
It was early in the morning while it was still dark that God dispatched an angel to roll the stone away. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can raise a denomination that is limping along on life support. 
Don’t point fingers, don’t blame others, don’t give in to fear. Faith has always been the answer that quells fear and turns darkness into light.  The CHURCH belongs to Jesus Christ. We are his body, and he will always care for his body. The United Methodist expression within his body will be okay if we put Jesus first. I am convinced that churches that keep Jesus at the center will emerge triumphant.  I read the back of the book and WE WIN!
What’s going to happen to “our church?” Well, it depends on you and your commitment to trust Jesus, follow his footsteps, and to pray for a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit. Faith defeats fear every time.
God Bless
Bishop Beard