As 2021 draws to a close, here are some of the most read themes and stories from UM & Global over the course of the past year:
1. Questions about General Conference
Out of everything that UM & Global published this last year, stories about what might happen with General Conference proved to be among the most popular to readers, from (correctly) predicting in January 2021 that the pandemic would prohibit holding General Conference in 2021 to analyzing the aborted May 8 virtual General Conference to reviewing how the pandemic and travel might impact the currently scheduled General Conference in 2022.
2. Analysis of UMC politics and current events
Readers have also turned to this site for thoughtful analysis of the internal conflicts and struggles of the UMC, especially from an international angle. That has included everything from historical background on current conflicts in the UMC in Nigeria to identifying the current issues of contention within the UMC to analysis of the strategic choices facing those seeking to launch the Global Methodist Church.
3. Understanding church decline
This blog has also spent a good deal of time seeking to understand various forms of decline in The United Methodist Church--from the "hollowing out" of the church to institutional decline to the connection between US membership decline and the rhetoric of the global church, and readers have found those explorations interesting.
4. Grappling with emotional impact
Conflicts in the church and in society, combined with the impacts of the on-going pandemic, have taken an emotional toll on people, and so pieces on grief in the church and pastors considering leaving the ministry have also appealed to readership.
5. Confronting racism
Amid conflict in the church and problems in the world, good ministry still goes on. This blog has tried to highlight over the past year the ways in which the church is (or should be) engaged in confronting the sin of racism. In that vein, John Oda's piece on why Asian Americans should speak out about racism has been one of the most read posts of 2021.
At this point, there is no particular reason to assume that the topics that will be of most interest to readers in 2022 will be any different, but if the past several years have taught us anything, it is that there are always surprises in store.