Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Why Are We United Methodist?

Mark 1:17

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amThis is another of my reworked devotionals. Seems some things never change or at least stay the same for a long time. The original post was from 3 years ago – as we had just faced GC2016 and were headed to GC2019. The message from this devotional is still current and accurate as we now head to GC2020.

In today’s climate – this might be a very serious question. Why Am I a United Methodist today?

This is a simple question but it might have complicated answers. Let’s look at a few.

One might answer – because the church I go to is United Methodist. It is the church closest to my home or the church I have always attended. I really haven’t thought of why before but maybe I should.

One might answer – because I grew up in the United Methodist Church. It is the church my parents attended and I have just never thought much about changing or trying another church.

One might answer – because I believe in the method of their theological discernment. Now we’re starting to dive a little deeper. Have any of us thought this deep about our relationship with the denomination we attend.

One might answer – I don’t know! This might be a more common answer than we would like.

One might answer – United Methodist?  You mean I’m United Methodist?

What are the good points of United Methodism as part of the Christian faith?  What are the points that aren’t so good?  IYHO (In your humble opinion) – give your thoughts.

First UMC is a Christian Church that is part of the United Methodist Denomination.  That has its pluses and minuses for sure.

This post is not meant to be a praise the denomination or a tear it down post but rather I’m interested in what people think about our denomination (maybe – like one of the responses above – you simply saw us as a Christian church and denomination hasn’t entered your thinking). What are some of the things we believe in that you believe in? What are some of the things you disagree with as you process your theology – your understanding of God? What keeps you here and what might send you looking for another church?

Here is today’s passage in partial context. Mark 1:16-20 – 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

So be gentle and bold at the same time – and try to back up some of your comments. What helps you to follow Jesus – as found in the United Methodist Church?

These questions might be more serious and current than we think. At the next General Conference – GC2020 – legislation is being presented to split the UMC into two or three new expressions of the United Methodist Church. What is important to you moving forward? What would the church you attend need to believe? I pray for our denomination and for a faithful expression of our faith in Jesus Christ – our Lord and Savior.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on your way.

August 22, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Pastor Ray, it has been some time since I posted. I do still read your posts each day. I’m no longer a United Methodist. I never saw myself as United Methodist. I always saw myself as a Christian that happened to attend a United Methodist Church. I loved the Biblical truth that you taught us and the feeling of family at our church. I left a few years after you did. I must say, the debate over the last 4 plus decades over human sexuality has been hard. Like you always said, the world is running away from God, and the Church seems to be following the world, or something like that. No church is perfect, but God’s truth needs to be the central theme of its teachings. Keep being faithful and serving our Lord.


    Comment by JR | August 22, 2019 | Reply

  2. Thanks for your thoughts JR – it means a lot to me that you thought we taught the Biblical truth – and that you are still seeking that as you worship today. There are still some UMC pastors that preach the Scriptures – but if you have found a place where you feel welcome and are hearing the Word of God – great. Praying for you. Again – good to hear from you.


    Comment by raymcdonald | August 22, 2019 | Reply

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