Friday, March 6, 2009

GracePoint Leaves UMC a New Paradigm

I have been thinking about the whole situation with GracePoint Community Church choosing to leave the United Methodist Church quite a bit this week. I have googled as many different ways as I could to find all the information available both from new sources and blogs. Overall, the reaction from most of the UM bloggers has been grace filled but not overly hopeful. I would like to suggest a new paradigm for how we can view this situation.

My experience tells me that the way I think about a particular situation will change my emotional response to it, and the way I react to it and can in the end change the situation itself.

So, if I think a particular situation is terrible and a catastrophe I will treat it as such and it will more likely become a catastrophe.

If however, I think of a particular situation as being hope filled and full of unexpected possibilities I will treat it that way and it will, once again, more likely become so.

I would like to suggest that GracePoint UMC and the leadership of the KS West District of the UMC view GracePoint Community Church as a daughter church of GracePoint UMC. Granted this was not an intentional church planting, but unexpected and even at first unwanted children are often an amazing blessing. True, they can be inconvenient and they may even cause a scandal when they first arrive if they do so in an “unorthodox manner.”

GracePoint Community Church started out within the UMC and will always have some of United Methodist genes, so it truly is a daughter of the United Methodist Church and of GracePoint UMC. Sometimes our children grow up and don’t choose a direction we would want them to choose. Sometimes they even do things and make choices that hurt us. But the time comes when we just have to let them go and trust God to take care of them. After all they are his children too, even more so than they were ever ours.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Leaving the UMC

If someone truly feels that God is leading them in a particular direction shouldn't they follow that calling even if the action will be unpopular etc?

I know some might not view this as a fair way of phrasing the question but hey, its my blog. ;-)

Seriously though, 90% of the time most Christians I know would answer that question with a YES.

The only times the answer would normally be NO are when the action in question would be considered sinful. (As in I really feel God wants me to sleep with my boyfriend/girlfriend - or some such statement.)

So I guess the real question before us (I had no idea this was where this post was going) is to ask if Leaving the UMC is sinful.

First, here is a list of links that might me of interest on the question of GracePoint leaving the UMC:

The above links are in no particular order. They simply represent everything google seems to know about this topic. Which is naturally everything there is to know since Google is the fount of all knowledge and information ;-)

I think this quote from the Eagle article is informative:

Butts said the move is one that church leaders believe is necessary for the church to do what God has called it to do -- reach as many unchurched people and people who are hurting as possible.

"We're excited about the future that God has for us," he said.

GracePoint Community Church leaders stressed that their church has no malice toward the United Methodist Conference.

"I think the more churches, the better," Butts said.

And this quote:

In the end, Butts said, he hopes people will see that the issue was not the result of fighting within the church.

"It just came down to God's leading us in a different direction," he said.

"I guess at the end of the day, people are not concerned about a denomination. They want to know how you're going to help them change their lives."

So, the leaders of GracePoint believe God was leading them to do this. With that said, the big question I see is this one:

"Is leaving the UMC in this way sinful?"

I don't think so but would be interested in your opinion.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Grace Point leaves UMC

I am re-posting this press release from the KS West UMC Conference office here and will be commenting on this story more over the next few days.

A press release from Bishop Scott Jones and the Kansas West Conference Office.

WICHITA--The United Methodist Church's commitment to a new church start in northwest Sedgwick County remains strong a day after the leadership of GracePoint United Methodist Church announced plans to leave the denomination and begin a new community church of the same name.

"We want the membership of this congregation to know that we are deeply committed to this church and that we hope they will continue to be part of GracePoint UMC," said Kansas Area United Methodist Bishop Scott Jones.

GracePoint United Methodist Church will continue to worship at Maize South Middle School at 37th Street North and Tyler Road. Jones and the district superintendents are working to name an interim pastor this week and plan to introduce the new pastor to the congregation at 11 a.m. worship Sunday, March 8.

"We would have liked to have some opportunity to discuss this in advance to see if the issue could have been resolved in a different way," Jones said. "While we knew there was some disagreement about the church's desire to expand faster than we were able to support, we were unaware of Rev. Bryson Butts' decision to leave the United Methodist Church."

Butts has surrendered his clergy credentials in the United Methodist Church and is no longer a United Methodist minister.