Call to Action (Feb/Mar/Apr 2012)

In advance of the United Methodist Church's 2012 General Conference, this issue explores the Call to Action, an initiative to create more vital congregations and vital leaders. Includes perspectives from denominational leaders and General Conference delegates as well as updates on various task forces and initiatives, and statistical info about the global UMC. Visit www.ministrymatters.com/gc2012 for even more General Conference coverage.

In This Issue

New Wineskins?

New Wineskins?

By
Neil M. Alexander
I’ve been searching for a Bible reference or metaphor that vividly captures the feeling of our experience. Most United Methodist leaders obviously want to combine faithful…
A Letter from Bishop Goodpaster

A Letter from Bishop Goodpaster

By
Larry M. Goodpaster
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, Preparations for the 2012 General Conference began almost as soon as all the delegates had departed Fort Worth in May, 2008. Many people have …
Embraced by the God of Love, Hope, and Purpose

Embraced by the God of Love, Hope, and Purpose

By
Rueben P. Job
Every person becomes the image of the God they adore.—Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island Change is in the air around the world and it leaves us more than a little uneasy…
Call to Action: Truth & Myth

Call to Action: Truth & Myth

By
Gregory V. Palmer
There is a myth that the Call to Action started with discussions by UMC leaders in 2008. But the truth is that it originated when the Wesleys first began organizing the people…
Returning to Our Creative Tradition

Returning to Our Creative Tradition

By
Janice Riggle Huie
What an exciting time for our church’s future. We are seeing signs of emerging vitality and strength in many congregations. Some are small, some are large. All are evidence…
Four Steps Toward Vitality

Four Steps Toward Vitality

By
Adam Hamilton
Nearly everyone in leadership in the United Methodist Church agrees that something must change. We’re aware of the decline in our denomination in the U.S. If nothing…
Checking Our Vital Signs

Checking Our Vital Signs

By
John Schol and Gary Shorb
We have an inspiring and urgent mission as United Methodists—to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. All of us who support the mission and…
Being One in Christ within a Diverse Church

Being One in Christ within a Diverse Church

By
Rosemarie Wenner
The United Methodist Church in Germany is a small but vital part of our church. Six delegates representing three Annual Conferences are preparing themselves to travel to Tampa…
"Quo Vadis" Church?

"Quo Vadis" Church?

By
Gaspar João Domingos
I was glad when they said, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”— Psalm 122:1 What willingness and satisfaction is seen on the face of the Psalmist when he…
Delegate FAQs

Delegate FAQs

By
Circuit Rider
How many delegates are there? What will they do? The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body, the General Conference, will gather April 24-May 4, 2012, in Tampa…
Prone to Wander

Prone to Wander

By
Jorge Acevedo
"Have you experienced a ‘sense of distance’ among parts of the UM Connection?” My short answer to this question is a sad yet firm “Yes!” The week…
Can We Trust Each Other?

Can We Trust Each Other?

By
Judy Benson
What enables a team to win the Super Bowl or the World Cup in soccer or Ryder Cup in golf? What does it take to be a champion? While many factors come into play, a team never…
My Hopes for General Conference

My Hopes for General Conference

By
Connie Semy Mella
The General Conference is the highest legislative assembly of the United Methodist Church. As such, to be a delegate to the General Conference is both a privilege and a…
A Hopeful Skeptic

A Hopeful Skeptic

By
Trudy D. Robinson
I love the vision of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world! I love the vision of a vital congregation that is growing, engaging the world, and…
Gifts to Offer

Gifts to Offer

By
David Wilson
Our denomination has been wrestling with the concept of what is believed to be “best practices” for some time. There are many who believe that we have to become more…
Will the Culture Change?

Will the Culture Change?

By
Don Underwood
The 2012 General Conference will be an important turnaround moment for the UMC for one simple reason: the decision of the Call to Action team to make “vital…
Numbers Don't Motivate

Numbers Don't Motivate

By
Mary jo Dahlberg
I am a layperson, served as Lay Leader for the Minnesota Annual Conference for two quadrenniums, elected to the General Board of Discipleship for two quadrenniums, and now elected …
No Excuses

No Excuses

By
Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai
On Monday, April 24, 988 delegates will descend on Tampa, Florida for the 2012 General Conference. I will be one of them. And one of the primary issues we will face is how to…
Exquisite Individuality

Exquisite Individuality

By
Laura Blauvelt Easto
The United Methodist Church has, from the beginning, been a denomination of exquisite individuality. Grounded in grace, the experience of local church ministry is as varied as the …
Four Areas of Focus: Updates

Four Areas of Focus: Updates

By
Circuit Rider
Developing Principled Christian Leaders I can think of no other time in my professional life as a United Methodist as critical as this one for our future ministry. Truly, we…
Reports Rundown

Reports Rundown

By
Circuit Rider
Numerous study groups and task forces have been convened over the past four years to explore various aspects of the United Methodist Church and its ministries. These brief reports …
Facts and Trends

Facts and Trends

By
Circuit Rider
Charts and graphs depicting the following statistics are available for download in PDF format at the bottom of this article: Average Worship Attendance, 1976-2009 Annual…