March-April 2011

Denominational Direction: Does the Call to Action lead the way?

By George G. Hunter III
My reflection on the report of the Call to Action proceeds from my convictions that United Methodism should be appropriately rooted in John Wesley’s theological vision and, as in early Methodism, our churches should be local missional movements more than conventional parishes.

British Methodists transcribe Bible by hand

By Kathleen LaCamera

In an age when a hand-written letter is an increasingly scarce commodity, British Methodists have pledged to transcribe all 66 books of the Bible by hand during the first five months of this year.

The Good, The Bad, and The Unfortunate

By Rob Renfroe
What we must do is point the church back to the centrality of Jesus as the only-begotten Son of God and the Savior of the World, and boldly declare the truth that God will not bless the UM Church because we have the right structures or better accountability, but only because we preach and practice the Gospel of Jesus Christ as contained in the Scriptures—for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), and pray that God’s Spirit will make the most of this moment.

Effective Actions: Response to Dr. Hunter

By M. Kent Millard
Dr. George Hunter is absolutely right that the Call to Action report insists that the United Methodist connection exists for the local church and not vice versa. The local congregation is the central arena where God makes disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Therefore, all the other levels of the church should be evaluated on how well they enable and empower local congregations to fulfill this vision.

Prayer and Presence: Response to Dr. Hunter

By Terry Teykl
Hunter is correct in saying that vitality in any church is hard to achieve without prayer. In fact, from what I can find, prayer is not prominent in the Call to Action. And for me this a serious oversight from a biblical and Wesleyan standpoint.

Diagnostic Process and the Call to Action

By Lyle E. Schaller

From this professional planner’s perspective, the Call to Action represents one planning model—a focus on designing an action plan or strategy designed to reverse the withdrawal of the United Methodist Church from the parish ministry in the United States. My preferred approach would place a high priority on achieving agreement on the planning model to be used.

March/April Letters to the Editor

Great joy I want to comment on two articles in the January/February 2011 issue. “Experiencing the Supernatural” brought great joy to my heart! I have been claiming John 14:12 within the various churches I’ve pastored since 1977—often to be faced with blank stares or even open rejection. However, I have also seen great movings of […]

Seriously Talking Back: Response to Dr. Hunter

By Joy J. Moore
I share George Hunter’s gratitude for the conversations resultant from the “Call to Action!” It is important as we move into the second decade of the third millennium, to remember ourselves as United Methodists by considering what ways this 18th century movement can be reality-transforming in this downloadable-media-saturated 21st century world. The vision, passion, and courage historically represented as the movement called Methodism certainly resonates with the fervor stirring publically through social media and politically through worldwide protests.

A Lack of True Oversight: Response to Dr. Hunter

By Steve Wende
Presently, if there is a problem in the boards or agencies, like damaging publicity or apparent misuse of resources, who do you call? Do you know the names of those in the boards and agencies? Do you have a clue how to get a name or phone number or email address? And if you did find out such information, except perhaps in extreme situations, how much good do you think it would do?

Staying too long with the fattened calf

By B.J. Funk
Something in our human nature makes us doubt stories in which the bad guy wins, especially when he has done nothing to earn his victory. In this story of the prodigal (Luke 15), the impertinence of a renegade son is wiped away overnight by an unbelievably loving father. The greedy youngster turns from his sinful behavior as he runs into the welcoming arms of his father. The point is easy to understand: God’s love toward sinners is incomprehensible. His mercy far exceeds anything we can imagine. When we stray, God waits with open arms to receive us back. That is powerful!