As I post excerpted quotes along with brief reflections and questions from the recent 10th anniversay issue of the Vineyard Church publication for church planters, Cutting Edge (see the one on Eugene Peterson below), I do so with a couple of my principle interests in mind: (1) formation of clergy leadership, and (2) the future of the United Methodist Church. Not that I’m overly wrapped up in the necessity of the UMC for God’s kingdom mission to thrive. This is my tradition. It is a wonderful and grace-filled tradition that has been and can be used mightily by God for his purposes. That said, God will do just fine if we twitter away due to our lack of faithfulness to his calling for us.
But at the same time as I hold that attitude–hopefully one of humility and one that raises up the Church Universal over any particular denomination within it–I also feel deeply desirous that the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition (the UMC being the largest of which) continues with great strength and vigor because I believe that the Church Universal will be blessed when this is the case.
As for the formation of clergy leadership, I said a few things about that back in March 2006. What I wrote reflected my initial sense of the implications of the Lewis Center’s report on the remarkable decline of younger clergy (age 35 and under).
Regarding the future of the UMC, well, as I understand it from a blog post by Andrew at Gen-X Rising, a book is coming out this Spring that takes the younger clergy shortage issue further. Recently, too, Dr. Weems addressed the UMC Bishops and challenged them. Here’s a copy of that speech in pdf from, “Ten Provocative Questions for the UMC.” Well worth reading and pondering.