Emerging Methodism: An Interview with Bishop Christian Alsted

The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai continues her “Emerging” series of interviews with Bishop Christian Alsted of the Nordic-Baltic Episcopal Area and Chair of the Connectional Table. They discuss a global church shaped for mission, teaching a gospel of welcome, planning for a post-pandemic ministry, the “McDonaldization” of the church, and the idea of a virtual General Conference.

Watch full interview

What does that church look like from a worldwide perspective?

The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai and Bishop Christian Alsted, of the Nordic-Baltic Episcopal Area and Chair of the Connectional Table, discuss a global church shaped for mission.

How did the Norway conference decide to issue an apology to LGBTQ people harmed by the church?

The Rev. Bigham-Tsai and Bishop Christian Alsted discuss teaching a gospel of welcome and inclusion.

What has the church learned from the pandemic and what opportunities might there be for the post-pandemic ministry?

In this discussion with the Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, Bishop Christian Alsted talks about how isolation during the pandemic has left people hungry for spiritual experiences and fellowship. He believes this will open windows of opportunity for the church to offer places of connection, spiritual experience, and fellowship.

How has the church become “McDonalized”?

Bishop Christian Alsted explains to Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai how the church has operated like McDonald’s once did, offering the same menu everywhere regardless of location and culture. But as McDonald’s has learned, the church must also adapt to the growing diversity in our global church. Proposals such as making the U.S. a central conference and creating a global Book of Discipline that contains basic theological principles but leaves it to regions to work out the specific details are both strategies for adapting our structure and governance to different cultural contexts.

Would a virtual General Conference disenfranchise people in the central conferences?

The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai’s and Bishop Christian Alsted discuss the need to postpone General Conference once again because of the pandemic as well as the difficulties of having a virtual General Conference on a global scale.

Emerging Methodism Video Series Introduction

Wesley's historic questions were about what to teach, how to teach and what to do. For the next interval of features for the Connectional Table's Emerging Forum we will seek to update these questions for our current moment. We will invite energetic conversation that will illumine our identity which is tied to what and how we teach, our preferred actions, what we do and our abiding hopes as we envision the future United Methodist Church.

About Emerging: God Is Doing a New Thing in United Methodism

This video interview is part of a series created for "Emerging: God Is Doing a New Thing in United Methodism," which is an online forum created by the Connectional Table to engage United Methodists with a diversity of perspectives from across our worldwide connection in thinking deeply about what is emerging at this time in the life of our connection. 

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church
©2023 United Methodist Communications. All Rights Reserved