An Open Letter to the Delegates of the 2012 General Conference

The following letter has been signed by many of the leading pastors in the United Methodist Church. These pastors cross the theological spectrum. What unites them is their love of the church and their desire to see her have a future. Laity and clergy are invited to join them in expressing your support for the key principles in the Interim Operations Team/Connectional Table/Call to Action proposals coming before the General Conference

An Open Letter to the Delegates of the 2012 General Conference:

We are local church pastors and leaders in the United Methodist Church writing in support of the legislation being proposed by the Connectional Table related to the Call to Action. We love the church and want her to have a “future with hope.” We believe that the downward trends in church membership, attendance and giving will accelerate in the years ahead. If we do nothing, our church will be half the size she is today in twenty years. Now is the time for action.

We do not believe organizational change alone can ignite a renewed United Methodism. But we do think this kind of change can focus our national leadership, both our agencies and the Council of Bishops, on the task of revitalizing the 85% of our churches that were found to be less than highly vital in the Call to Action studies.

Our current organizational structure is not sacred. It met a variety of needs in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, when it was implemented. Today is a very different time for the church and our society. This is a time of integration, collaboration, and teamwork. Gone are the days of silos, separate organizations, redundancy and inefficiencies. And while the conversation about what constitutes appropriate representation is important, the days of bloated boards and millions of our missions dollars spent on bi-annual meetings cannot continue. We must have our general agencies working together as one, on common and shared objectives, laser focused on helping the church to turn from death to life.

Ultimately, the revitalization of the United Methodist Church will happen one congregation at a time through local church leadership. The average age of our clergy is 58. Our question: Who are the leaders that will reach and connect with today’s 5, 10 and 15 year olds? That is the question we must ask as a church. Now is the time to focus on raising up such leaders. It has been said that the cost of raising up these leaders is too great. It will require reducing national and international programs. We suggest the cost of not raising up young leaders is far greater, and that this may be our only hope of saving our national and international programs.

Finally, while there has been much talk of giving too much authority to our bishops, our fear is the opposite. Our bishops, over the last forty years, have not exercised enough leadership and this is part of the reason we are where we are today. Bishops cannot be tyrants, but they must be spiritual leaders who hold us accountable and help our annual conferences to work towards greater vitality. We need them to lead. And we need the Council of Bishops to effectively collaborate and work together if we will have a future with hope.

We’re asking the delegates to the 2012 General Conference to have courage. We implore you to not let fear keep us from the change we desperately need. We are praying for you as you perfect and vote on legislation that will enable our denomination, at every level, to work together to create more vital United Methodist congregations who are making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Sign Now

View A List of All Signatures

For more information on the proposals visit:

Proposed Legislation

Call To Action Website

Bishops Letter

Originators

Adam Hamilton
Senior Pastor
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
Leawood, KS

Michael Slaughter
Senior Pastor
Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church
Tipp City, OH

Rudy Rasmus
Senior Pastor
St. John’s Downtown United Methodist Church
Houston, TX

Mark Craig
Senior Pastor
Highland Park United Methodist Church
Dallas, TX

Ed Robb
Senior Pastor
The Woodlands United Methodist Church
Houston, TX

Mark Beeson
Senior Pastor
Granger Community United Methodist Church
Granger, IN

Jorge Acevedo
Senior Pastor
Grace United Methodist Church
Fort Meyer, FL

Gregg Parris
Senior Pastor
Union Chapel UMC
Muncie, IN

Steve Dodson
Senior Pastor
Peachtree City UMC
Peachtree City, GA

Jeff Brinkman
Senior Pastor
Woods Chapel United Methodist Church
Lee’s Summit, MO

Dan Johnson
Senior Minister
Trinity United Methodist Church
Gainesville, Florida

Bill Britt
Senior Minister
Peachtree Road UMC
Atlanta, Georgia

Harvey C Martz
Senior Pastor
St Andrew UMC
Littleton,CO

John Allen
Senior Pastor
Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church
Flower Mound, TX

Dr. Robert E. Gorrell
Senior Minister
United Methodist Church of the Servant
Oklahoma City, OK

Charles Anderson
Directing Pastor
University United Methodist Church
San Antonio, TX

Jim Savage
Senior Pastor
Riverchase UMC
Hoover, AL

Mike Ramsdell
Senior Pastor
First Mansfield Texas
Waco, TX

Tom Pace
Senior Pastor
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
Houston, TX

Mark Flynn
Senior Pastor
Christ United Methodist Church
Chattanooga, TN

Bob Johnson
Executive Pastor
Chapelwood United Methodist Church
Houston, TX

Dr. John M. (Jack) Stephenson
Senior Pastor
Anona UMC
Largo, Florida

Clayton Oliphint
Senior Pastor
First United Methodist Church
Richardson, TX

James W. Mitchell
Senior Pastor
St. Timothy on the Northshore UMC
Mandeville, Louisiana

Matthew Hartsfield
Senior Pastor
VanDyke United Methodist
Tampa, FL

James Howell
Senior Pastor
Meyers Park United Methodist
Charlotte, NC

Ronald D Henderson
Senior Pastor
Custer Road United Methodist Church
Plano, TX

Jim Cowart
Senior Pastor
Harvest Church – A United Methodist Congregation
Byron, GA

Ron Watts
Senior Pastor
La Croix UMC
Cape Girardeau, MO

Roger Spahr
Senior Pastor
Cornerstone UMC
Watertown, SD

Tom Deviney
Senior Pastor
Bethany UMC
Austin, TX

Dr. Lester Spencer
Senior Pastor
Gulf Breeze UMC
Gulf Breeze , FL

James Preisig
Senior Pastor
Lee's Summit United Methodist Church
Lee’s Summit, MO

Dr. W. Craig Curry
Senior Minister
First United Methodist Church
Lubbock, TX

Jeff Spiller
Senior Pastor
Christ United Methodist
Mobile AL

Jim Brashear
Senior Pastor
Bethany United Methodist Church
Wescoville, PA

David Brownlee
Senior Pastor
Christ United Methodist
Jackson, MS

Rob Fuquay
Senior Pastor
Saint Luke’s United Methodist
Indianapolis, IN

Chongho James Kim
Senior Pastor
Korean Church of Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Godfrey Hubert
Senior Pastor
Foundry UMC
Houston, Texas

Ned Hill
Senior Pastor
Edenton Street United Methodist Church
Raleigh, NC

Rev. Tom Berlin
Senior Pastor
Floris United Methodist Church
Herndon, VA

Rev. Stephen Ramsdell
Senior Pastor
First United Methodist Church of Waco
Waco, TX

Rev. David W. Baldridge
Senior Pastor
Palm Harbor UMC
Palm Harbor, FL

Rev. Deborah A. McLeod
Senior Pastor
Mandarin United Methodist Church
Jacksonville, FL

Steven A. Tollefson
Senior Pastor
Boise First UMC
Boise, ID

Tom Davis
Senior Pastor
Due West United Methodist Church
Marietta, GA

Allen Newton
Lead Pastor
St. James UMC
Montgomery, Al

Tim Thompson
Senior Pastor
Frazer Memorial UMC
Montgomery, Al

R. Duane Thompson
Senior Pastor
Christ United Methodist Church
Bethel Park, PA

Stuart Greene
Senior Pastor
Sugarloaf United Methodist Church
Duluth, Georgia

Jon Moore
Senior Pastor
St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
El Paso, TX

W. David McEntire,
Senior Pastor
1st United Methodist Church
Lakeland, FL

Ken Lyon
Senior Pastor
Matthews UMC
Matthews, NC

Mike Schreiner
Lead Pastor
Morning Star Church
O'Fallon, MO

Don Underwood
Senior Pastor
Christ United Methodist
Plano, TX

Dr. R. Lawson Bryan
Senior Minister
First UMC
Montgomery, Alabama

Doug Thrasher
Senior Pastor
Hillside United Methodist Church
Woodstock, GA

Ralph Sigler
Lead Pastor
Harvest Church
Dothan, AL

Joe MacLaren
Senior Pastor
University Carillon UMC
Oviedo Florida

Jeff Greenway
Senior Pastor
Reynoldsburg United Methodist
Reynoldsburg, OH

Roger Ross
Senior Pastor
First United Methodist Church
Springfield, IL

Jeff Kersey
Senior Pastor
Mt. Horeb UMC
Lexington, SC

John Ed Mathison
Leadership Ministries
Montgomery, AL

Phil Roughton
Senior Pastor
Christ Church
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Talbot Davis
Senior Pastor
Good Shepherd UMC
Charlotte, NC

Rev. Dr. Kip Laxson
Senior Pastor
Asbury United Methodist Church
Birmingham, AL

William S. Barnes
Senior Pastor
St. Luke's United Methodist Church
Orlando, FL

Charles Kyker
Lead Pastor
Christ UMC
Hickory, NC

John McKellar
Senior Pastor
White’s Chapel United Methodist Church
Southlake, Texas

Charles B. Simmons
Senior Pastor
Memorial Drive UMC
Houston, TX

Wade Paschal
Senior Pastor
First United Methodist Church
Tulsa, OK

Shane Bishop
Senior Pastor
Christ United Methodist Church
Fairview Heights, IL

Rev. Dr. Marvin A. Moss
Senior Pastor
Cascade United Methodist Church
Atlanta, Ga.

Bob and Martha Ward
Lead Co-Pastors
Ankeny First United Methodist Church
Ankeny, Iowa

Rev. Jerry F. House, Jr.
Senior Pastor
Christ UMC
College Station, TX

Dr Jim Higgins
Senior Pastor
McEachern Memorial UMC
Powder Springs GA

Mike Mayhugh
Senior Pastor
Christ United Methodist Church
Sugar Land, Texas

Dr. R. Lawson Bryan
Senior Minister
First UMC
Montgomery, Alabama

Dr. G. Steven Sallee
Senior Pastor
Cokesbury UMC
Knoxville, TN

Bryan D. Collier
Founding and Lead Pastor
The Orchard
Tupelo, MS

Dr. Steve Wende
Senior Pastor
First United Methodist Church
Houston, Texas

Dr. RobinB. Scott
District Superintendent of the Mountain Lakes District
North Alabama Conference

Ted L. Sauter
Senior Pastor
North Naples United Methodist Church
Naples, FL

Greg Week
Senior Pastor
Manchester United Methodist Church
Manchester, MO

Robert Hasley
Senior Pastor
St. Andrew United Methodist Church
Plano, TX

Davis Chappell
Senior Pastor
LawrencevilleUMC
Lawrenceville, GA

David McAlister-Wilson
President
Wesley Theological Seminary
Washington, DC

Sponsor

The following letter has been signed by many of the leading pastors in the United Methodist Church. Join them in expressing your support for the key principles in the Interim Operations Team/Connectional Table/Call to Action proposals coming before the General Conference.

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