A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Do United Methodists Need a New Mission Statement?

John Meunier thinks so. He writes,

We should return to our roots: "The mission of the United Methodist Church is to spread scriptural holiness across every continent."

Let me offer a couple of reasons I propose this.

First, it is a mission that requires motion. One of the biggest flaws of our current mission statement is that it leaves out a key verb from the text that inspires it. Jesus told us to "go" to all nations and make disciples. We dropped the "go" and settled down to make disciples where we happened to be at the moment. If our mission is "to spread" then we cannot sit where we are.

Second, it turns discipleship into a means rather than an end. If we are going to spread holiness, we will need disciples. But the disciples exist not to simply be, but to do something. Discipleship is a means to holiness and it is a means of spreading that holiness.

Third, it tells us what kind of world transformation we are seeking. Our current mission asks for transformation of the world, but gives that concept no content at all. You could make a case that the spread of sin and evil transforms the world and therefore satisfies our mission statement as currently constituted.

Finally, it does speak to us about who we are by reminding us who we were. It reconnects us to the past like a branch is grafted to a root.

I am curious what others think. Do we need to return to the emphasis on spreading scriptural holiness throughout the land, and should that be reflected in a new mission statement?


Jim Jensen said...

Perhaps. I've always been satisfied with the current mission statement, but John makes some good points (although the whole "Go" thing is a bit off base, since the Greek should be translated--I am told-- as "going" or "as you go"). In our quest to embrace all people (which I heartily support), we do seem to have lost our emphasis on Scriptural holiness--the hallmark of the early Methodist movement. Maybe it's time to get back to basics!

John Meunier said...

Jim, I'm happy with "going" or "as you go." Both still suggest we are in fact moving and not just sitting in place.