by Paul Lawler
With African United Methodists affirming their support of the Protocol for Separation through Grace and Reconciliation, we are on the cusp of a new day. This is a turning point in the process.
In the words of Chris Ritter on Twitter, “I think the Africa Initiative statement also means the Separation enabled by the United Methodist Protocol will involve millions of people and not just hundreds of thousands.” In other words, Africa will likely go with the new traditionalist expression of Methodism. This represents a swelling momentum for a new, global expression of Methodism in the days ahead.
What does the scope of this new day entail? It entails a day of new beginnings for a people called Methodists!
A new day of a fresh expression of worldwide Methodism.
A new day of shedding the weight of a divided church.
A new day of taking the gospel of Christ to unreached peoples.
A new day of doing more outside the walls of the church through new church plants and missional expression.
A new day of embracing a movement characterized by the power of the synergy that comes from shared theology and mission.
As we embrace all that is ahead, we remember that approximately 1,000 United Methodists gathered at Clearbranch United Methodist Church for a half-day of exploring, Why the Best Days of Methodism are Ahead of Us! We are thrilled to announce another upcoming event!
The upcoming gathering is titled, Moving Forward. It will take place on Thursday, April 23 rd from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at St. James United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. The day will feature many breakout sessions by key leaders, GC 2020 delegation members, and a plenary presentation by the President of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and Co-author of the Protocol Plan, Rev. Keith Boyette. Keith will help inform and prepare our laity and clergy for the possible passage of the Protocol Plan and all of its implications.
This day is about envisioning a fresh and exciting future together as a people called Methodists.
We believe God is about to do a new thing in and through Methodism that will advance the kingdom in an explosive way. We hope you will plan to be a part of it. This April 23 rd Moving Forward gathering will empower us as we prepare for this new movement of God. Everyone is invited and welcome to attend. You can register for the event at www.movingforward.cc
As we move into these critical hours as a people called Methodist, let us remember the words of Leslie Newbigin who once said, “Nostalgia for the past and fear of the future are equally out of place for the Christian.”
Let us boldly move forward in the Spirit of Isaiah 43:19:
“Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”
Paul Lawler is the Lead-Pastor of Christ Church UMC. He and his wife, MJ, have four children and one daughter-in-law. In addition to serving as a pastor, Paul and his brother, Dallas area businessman Patrick Lawler, founded two Patricia B. Hammonds Homes for orphans at high risk for human trafficking in Thailand. The homes are operated through the international ministry of the Compassionate Hope Foundation. Paul also serves on the boards of The Wellhouse, The Compassionate Hope Foundation, and the East Lake Initiative. He often tweets Kingdom thoughts at @plawler111. If you would like to read what Paul wrote his congregation regarding the Protocol of Reconciliation Grace through Separation, you may do so at this link.
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