Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Future with Hope

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord,
plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11, NRSV

The 2008 General Conference of The United Methodist Church has opened officially. Its theme is “A Future with Hope” based upon Jeremiah 29:11. The question the delegates must answer is “What is the future of The United Methodist Church”? No doubt, they will hope for the best and leave the rest to God. But is that enough to right the course of an institution that is prone to elitism, selfishness, egotism, turf wars and complacency that engenders dis-ease, impoverishes the denomination, lacks principled leaders and hinders church growth? It is the institution itself—namely the cumbersome 13 general boards and agencies—that stands in the way of any hope of a vital future.

Jeremiah 29:11 is as much a promise as a warning to those wishing to return to business as usual. Just like the Israelites who longed for life before exile but could have no hope of returning, the people of The United Methodist Church—through its representative delegates to General Conference—must make plain the vision of tomorrow instead of fanning the flames of yesterday. If there is to be a future with hope for the people of The United Methodist Church, it must start with dismantling the unwieldy craziness of a church structure that has long outlived its usefulness.

That’s a future worth hoping for.

1 comment:

Craig L. Adams said...

If you have any impressions good or bad of the Young People's address, I'd be glad to hear. One of our teens from West Michigan was part of it.