Following General Conference 2019, many are contemplating what the future of The United Methodist Church will look like. With much attention on divisive issues, it is easy to forget the shared values and ministry that bring us together. United Methodists continue to share a common calling from God to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. From their beginnings and moved by the Holy Spirit, United Methodists have always found creative ways to live out the church's mission in different places and situations.
Recognizing the on-going response, United Methodist Communications has launched a new campaign called "The Movement Continues."
"This campaign is an important reminder that the church will continue in our mission no matter how it might be structured or what the outcome of the 2019 Special Session may be," said Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. "God calls us in various ways, and we have responded throughout the church's history, up until the present day and into the future. Our call does not change."
"The Movement Continues" resources use words and images illustrating different ways God's calling moves us to action. Print them to insert in your church bulletin or use a favorite image in your newsletter. Share them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media. UMC.org has articles and videos telling the stories of United Methodists past and present being moved by God's call.
You can also use these resources in small groups, as devotionals for meetings and in other settings to spark conversation around how your church can continue to respond to God's call. Use the questions below and in this downloadable discussion guide to help you get started.
Moved to Pray
Prayer should be a vital part of all activities at your church. We also encourage members to set aside time for prayer every day.
- When and where does your congregation practice communal prayer outside of worship?
- How do you make time to talk to God each day? How has it impacted your life and ministry?
- Get daily prayer and devotional resources from The Upper Room.
Moved to Heal
We offer healing through mission, charity and advocacy. Whether your congregation goes on a mission trip overseas, opens a food pantry for the poor or donates to hurricane relief through UMCOR, you are acting as the healing hands of Christ.
- What are some of the ways your church offers healing to the world?
- Who is God calling you to advocate for?
- Watch video of "Navajo Advocate and United Methodist Woman."
Moved to Love
Showing love can mean practicing Christian hospitality within your congregation by offering programs or experiences that welcome people and address their unique needs. We also show love by reaching out to those lost, mistreated or forgotten within our community.
- How you do experience love within your congregation?
- Watch the video of "Love on Wheels."
- Who are the people in your community who need to know they are loved? In what new ways might we respond?
Moved to Share
We share our faith when we invite and welcome new people into the church, encourage them to be baptized and lead them into practices to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. We're also moved to share our gifts and resources freely to serve God and our neighbors.
- How do you encourage your members to invite friends to church?
- What are some of the creative ways your congregation can make members and guests alike feel like they belong at your church?
- Watch video of "Missionary's Global Calling."
Moved to Serve
Members should have ample opportunities to serve the church and the community. Help your members find creative ways to use their talents to live out their individual calls.
- How do you help members find unique ways to use their gifts and talents to serve?
- What are some of the creative ways your church serves your community?
- Watch video of "Maine Woman Launches Warming Center and Feeds Souls."
Moved to Praise
United Methodists – individually and together – need to give thanks to God both individually and communally for God's blessings beyond Sunday morning worship.
- How does your congregation offer thanksgiving to God in all aspects of ministry (missions, classes, services, etc.)?
- How does your congregation return thanks to God after a successful event or project?
- Watch video of "Song Celebrating United Methodists and Malaria Fight."
Moved to Build
Building means transforming the world community-by-community. It takes many forms – from constructing new homes for the people around us to building safe spaces for people with special needs.
- What's the biggest social problem confronting your community (poverty, racism, addiction, etc.)?
- What could your church build to address the issue?
- Watch video of "Church Builds House on the Corner."
Moved to Connect
We come together to pray for and support each other in our mutual walk with God. Connecting with other Christians bring us closer to God. We also unite to support our shared mission when we give our time, gifts and prayers to the work of the denomination.
- Name other churches and organizations in your area and think about ways your church could partner with them in ministry.
- How might you better educate your church members about the United Methodist connectional system and ways they can support the denomination's global projects?
- Read "50 Reasons to Celebrate The United Methodist Church."
Moved to Study and Teach
Whether it's done privately, in Sunday school/small groups or online, study should be focused on developing Christian leaders. No matter their age, United Methodists are always learning how to be better disciples through the study of scripture and Wesleyan practices.
- How do you measure the effectiveness of classes and studies in preparing people to live as disciples of Christ?
- How might learning about the history of the Methodist movement help churches respond to their calling faithfully today?
- Learn more about our denomination's Wesleyan heritage and practices.
Moved to Worship
Every worship service should be a celebration and a reaffirmation of your congregation's faith. Keep the focus on getting nearer to God and glorifying God.
- What would make your worship service more impactful and joyful for participants?
- How can powerful worship bring congregations closer together?
- Find the latest worship planning resources from Discipleship Ministries.
Moved to Grow
God has sowed grace within us to grow deep and wide. Congregations grow wider by reaching new people and grow deeper by moving all their members closer to God.
- How do you teach new members about the spiritual disciplines and encourage them to become disciples?
- What could your church offer to help members grow as disciples (labyrinths, weekly Communion, time for centering prayers, etc.)?
- Listen to podcast on "Growing in Faith with Tiffany Bluhm."
Regardless of what lies ahead for the denomination, the people of The United Methodist Church will continue to make disciples of Jesus Christ in many ways and many places. Learn more about "The Movement Continues" and how it relates to our Wesleyan heritage.
— Philip Brooks is a writer/content developer on the Leader Team at United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tennessee.