Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Recommended readings: New forms of missional organization in the UMC

As United Methodism struggles to discern how to structure itself to maximize mission and minimize conflict in the wake of General Conference 2019, it is worthwhile looking at two recently-formed missional organizations.

In Switzerland, The United Methodist Church formed a special district for Fresh Expressions churches at the beginning of January. Fresh Expressions is a term for new forms of church that are created to reach new people in new ways. 16 such Fresh Expressions belong to this new district. This new entity takes an existing form of United Methodist polity, the district, and re-purposes it by creating a district based not on geography, but on missional focus.

At the end of February, Filipinos in the United States, the Philippines, and around the world came together to launch the Global Filipino United Methodists Movement. The new organization cuts across existing forms of polity (congregations, agencies, annual conferences, and central conferences/jurisdictions) to unite people from a particular ethnic heritage around missional concerns related to mission in a migrant global diaspora community.

United Methodism and its antecedents have a long history of polity innovation, based mainly on missional needs. One of the hallmarks of Methodism has long been its willingness to develop new forms of structuring its communal life for the sake of advancing its communal mission. These two examples show that United Methodists continue that heritage today.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this report. Both aspects show how we can, and should, cut across and repurpose largely outdated structures to get on with mission. "Polity innovation" is Methodists at our best.