General Conference is approaching and will make many decisions that affect us all as United Methodists. The theme for General Conference is "A Future with Hope." Few United Methodists would argue that these aren't the easiest times for us. Those in various "corners" of the wide and sometimes thinly stretched "tent" of United Methodism may view General Conference and the United Methodist Church's future with anything but hope.
Yet hope is something we actively pursue through prayer and self-discipline. I would also say through our own confession and repentance of what we have contributed to what isn't right and good about our Church; self-discipline keeps us from trying to get others to confess and repent for what they have contributed to its decline!
I have hope for the future of United Methodism by keeping my eyes focused on our mission and working toward it: making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
I have hope when resisting cynicism and disparaging others. Holy conferencing is essential to a future of hope, especially at General Conference.
I have hope when I see new life bubbling up in the church in the midst of decline like a forest floor where new shoots come up and out of decaying stumps.
See my website article (www.minnesotaumc.org) under the bishop's corner for other reflections on General Conference and a future with hope.
What do you hope for in our future as United Methodists?
What is your hope for General Confernce?