“I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid, lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case, unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit and discipline with which they first set out.” - John Wesley, from ‘Thoughts Upon Methodism’
Frequently - the United Methodist Church has a way for folks to revive/reclaim/remember what it means to be a member of the Church. Sometimes, a congregation chooses to revitalize on its own, like our participation in “Compass”. Currently, the UMC is encouraging congregations to develop an “Intentional Discipleship” plan or system. In fact, by 2025 each congregation is supposed to develop and implement such a system. This is not a “One size fits all” plan for congregations to follow; we are to develop our own plan for our own congregation. Well, I do not claim to know what this means or how to do this, let alone lead the change here in Alplaus. Thankfully, the Albany District has Ellen Mall-John. Ellen is our District Lay Leader and our District Associate. She is a former Science teacher and Principal in local public schools. She has experience teaching, supervising and writing curriculum. She has a vital and vibrant faith, seemingly endless patience, and a love for helping churches. I am meeting with Ellen on a regular basis and she is helping a couple of other local congregations in this process of developing an “Intentional Discipleship” plan. As we prepare to enter into and work through this process, let us not be afraid of the future. We are known and loved, forgiven and called into an ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ. Any language we use to describe our efforts as we follow our faithful path will never change the salvation found in the love of God. May we be reminded of the ways we can have more than the “Form of religion” and once more reclaim the power to transform the world.
If you would like to talk more or know more about this process, please reach out to me. Happy to struggle along with company!!!