After walking more miles that I count, here are some final reflections from the three-day General Board of Church and Society’s Young Clergy Forum.
The Church Needs All to Serve All
One of the things I appreciated about the conference was the ability to hear from different perspectives on issues that I am passionate about. The church should be a place where various perspectives come together to work as one to serve God and our communities.
In fact, I think Jesus gives us the greatest example of what this looks like through the selection of the 12 Disciples. They were people who came from all walks of life, had various opinions on different subjects, and didn’t always agree on things. Yet, they were one together in relationship, in love, and in commonality who sought to grow closer to Jesus and to serve others.
That is the church and that is what the church should look like. The church cannot be defined as a homogeneous collection of thoughts or opinions. It has to be a broad collection of people who work together for the common purpose of serving God, loving others, and making disciples.
There is a Deep Future for Our Church
Over the last few years, we have heard a lot of talk about the dissension and frustrations that exist within the United Methodist Church. Certainly, there are difficulties and challenges that are present. My thought is this … what of humans does not have struggles? Our families go through difficult moments. Our businesses struggle. Our personal lives are often met with periods of joy and doubt. The church is just the same.
But, I left D.C. with a great hope for the future of our church and specific form of it within the United Methodist Church. Within the 60 people gathered for this conference were conservatives and progressives, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, Republicans and Democrats, yet we all worked together as one body. We worshiped. We questioned. We learned. We grew.
That is the church and, again, that is what the church should look like.
I have a deep hope for the future of our church, because I saw the church be what it can and should be. No one screaming over each other. No one saying “my way.” It was a group of Christians saying, “We want to be the church together.”
Oh, if only others would agree.