Repent, Pray, and Stand for the UMC

No matter your position of influence in the United Methodist Church, your hope in Christ is needed now.

Quick List: This is What a Fighting, Victorious UMC Looks Like

by | May 28, 2018 | UMC Renewal, Wesley Covenant Association | 0 comments

The following ideas obtained from prayer are a sample and a standard of what God might prompt you to do both individually and corporately. When each of us rebuilds the part of the wall we occupy, we will together be amazed at what God accomplishes in a short time.

  • Maintain a minimum 2:1 advancement to contingency investment: Victory is our Plan A, our Plan B, and our Plan Z. There will always be believers among us more devoted to protecting current assets rather than taking or reclaiming new ground. That work is not always dishonorable, but we need a vast resource shift of the whole church to advancement and victory. Light dispels darkness, truth dispels deception, and integrity dispels corruption. To move darkness out, we have to move Christ in. For every contingency effort like the WCA, there will be two advancement efforts, such as organizations devoted to converting progressive power centers in and beyond the church (such as American media and education industries), reclaiming the seminaries, prayer mobilization movements, partnerships with traditionalists from all denominations to combat the progressive influence, etc. As a whole church, we should see at least twice the investment of time and money in an outright victory. Take note of this ratio in your local Methodist context and what you can do to improve it.
  • Initiate leadership rotation: All influencers in the UMC with a title or platform must count the cost now of faithfully stewarding their specific positions in the face of a tidal wave of progressivism that is already upon us. Talk privately with God and trusted counselors about the specifics of the office and what God wants to do with it. If you are not 100% committed to seeing the Lord’s interests upheld in your position, immediately begin finding a replacement leader who will. There is no dishonor in using your post for that purpose. There is only dishonor in filling a position without a man God can count on to stand when circumstances get tough.
  • Keep each other accountable: Call out specific sins practiced by specific people you have the opportunity to speak with privately, following the Matthew 18 process.[1] Begin this work immediately, because it takes time, and leaderlessness in our Connection has been rampant for decades. Let us “gain our brothers” back to the vine, the source of life for the church, which is the source of life for the world!
  • Invest in and relieve the fruitful fighters: those who have been working tirelessly on the front lines of the sexuality issue in the UMC need your prayer and provision. You’ll know what to provide when you pray for these individuals. Take stock of what you’re currently supporting in the church and ask Jesus if this is where He is working right now and if you need to realign with where He needs your gifts right now serving the church (or even outside the church).
  • Reignite Oversight: If you are board member of an organization – no matter its role and purpose – begin dusting off the by-laws and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and discernment while reading it, just as you would with scripture. You are a chosen protector of that vision carried by that legal structure, and no matter how grand or menial that vision of the organization is, the prayerful protection of any vision is a useful exercise and act of glorifying God, who exercises all authority righteously.
  • Own the next generation: Re-assess the fruitfulness our investment in the war for our young people. Ask God for His approach in your local context and lead others around you to bring the Gospel to bear on the issues that have our youths’ attention.
  • Join the WCA.
  • Find and support renewal movements in other denominations, and seek in prayer if they can help us with this fight for the soul of the UMC. We are not separate denominations fighting several wars, but we are one body in Christ fighting in the same war on different fronts. These next 12 months are the hour of the church coming together to pray and stand for God’s interests in the UMC. One Christian organization I have admired for their perfect blend of love, grace, and tenacity is CatholicVote. Their advocacy for nine years now has been spot on, and they have won several battles that didn’t always look winnable, but they were right and necessary to fight nonetheless. Please consider taking four minutes to watch this innovative grassroots video someone produced to help start the movement and notice the shameless declaration of the faith and values we all share and applied to a current situation, making a clear call people need to act.
  • Honor the Sabbath: successful spiritual warfare (where the real war is fought) is a cycle of hitting and hiding. Our lives are hidden with Christ inside the heart of God,[2] and our safety and success are realized in this secret place. Without Him we can do nothing. Just as we are designed with two ears and one mouth to listen more than we speak, so should hiding constitute 70% or more of our time and hitting 30% or less. Spiritual warfare God’s way is not meant to be an all-consuming endeavor, which is where the enemy prefers to wear saints down. Obeying the command to Sabbath is one critical key the UMC needs to fight this battle for the long haul successfully because it places Jesus as Lord of every part of the fabric of our lives. The purpose of the Sabbath is for this garden of sweet time of renewal and rejuvenation in the Lord to invade all the other days of the week. Do not tolerate burdens overwhelming this one day. Observe the fruits of the Holy Spirit and their connection to spiritual strength received from rest. Also, observe the mighty lion’s ratio of resting to fighting.
  • Reduce positions with both authority and money: There are myriad ways of accomplishing this principle locally and internationally. Positions of authority combined with financial support overly attracts “interested” parties; the temptation is too strong. Instead, people should pay a price personally in the Kingdom to have authority in the church. Authority recognized by the church should be what is already given by God when the person ministered for years without pay or expectation of pay. Take a new look at laity who have faithfully served among you for years who have proved ministerial experience by their works.
  • Mobilize persistent, penitent, and powerful prayer: whether 2-3 people or 20-30,000, cast a clear vision among those around you for the need and opportunity to pray. God will not build except by prayer. We are who we are and have what we have because of the prayers and faithful standing of those who have come before us. Honor their commitment and Christ’s in persistent, believing prayer. One reason prayer is so valuable is because it cost Christ so much to give us the right to have it. There are countless national prayer calls, prayer ministries, email lists, prayer orgs like OneCry, and anointed times of fasting and prayer like 10 Days. The call to pray is not the ministry of the few, but it is the lifeline of abiding for each of us wherever we are.

[1] “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:15-20, ESV

[2] “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1-4, ESV