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DYK:  “Do All the Good You Can”

Posted: November 3 2019 at 12:00 AM
Author: Rev. Arlene Christopherson, Ass't to the Bishop/Dir. of Connectional Ministries


“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” John Wesley

I’ve done some crazy things for the sake of the gospel. Becoming a pastor in a season when it was still a novelty to be a woman in ministry, joining in unpopular protests, dragging my family across the state.

I’ve even kissed a pig for the sake of the gospel! Well, it was really a piglet, scrubbed and tethered for a day in church. And maybe my lips didn’t exactly touch the pig but I did graze his fur. How does kissing a pig and promoting the gospel connect? Read on.

John Wesley is at the heart of our Methodist heritage and tradition. Wesley was a flawed leader who made mistakes, struggled with his faith, didn’t always know the answers, opposed the actions of his denomination and without intending to, gave birth to a worldwide movement.

Our United Methodist roots in mission and witness come from our Wesleyan DNA. Wesley’s call to “do all the good we can” resonates in our congregations. This is the foundation upon which we lead in mission, social witness and discipleship.

Apportionments are a key to the witness of the United Methodist Church. As a connectional structure, we have touched almost every corner of the world as we honor John Wesley’s words. The Methodist witness can be seen in the development of hospitals, schools, programs to combat poverty, promote peace, address immigration, addiction, disaster, discrimination and (fill in the blank with many other works of faith).

This has been a tough year for United Methodists. We are now in the fourth quarter of a year that has thrown us into uncertainty as a denomination and frustration as congregations. The stress and uncertainty have taken a toll on our church and conference’s witness. Our apportionments are suffering and our Connectional witness has struggled.

We can point to a lot of reasons for the drop in giving - denominational unrest and uncertainty, shifting culture, aging buildings, confusion in the billing process, misunderstanding in how you pay, and decreasing financial commitments to congregations. According to recently released Pew Research statistics, Americans gave about 3% of their disposable income to churches in 1968, and less than 2.2% in 2016. This is a big hurdle to our witness.

John Wesley’s words echo down through the ages and push against our turmoil: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

This is why I kissed a pig. Devising a plan to pay apportionments one fall, as it became clear our congregation was struggling to pay our apportionments at 100%, the Church Council created a unique challenge. The outcome was paying 100% apportionments and my opportunity for a photo op smooching a pig.

Learn more about the dynamic work being done with our apportionments by visiting www.umc.org/how-we-serve/apportioned-funds. There is still time to be part of this dynamic work. Maybe you’re not excited about kissing a pig but I’d challenge you to find fun and engaging ways to be a 100% church in 2019.
 

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