Forgotten Word Ministries

 Future of U.S. Methodists hinges on change - leaders

Home          Literature          Free Newsletter          Contact Us          ARTICLES          Discussion Board

Search WWW Search

by Lillian Kwon
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
While membership in mainline Protestant churches in the US has been on the decline for decades, church leaders are sounding the alarm more loudly after a recent study offered a grim picture of the churches' future.

"There is no future for The United Methodist Church in the United States unless we can reach more people, younger people and more diverse people," said the Rev Lovett Weems, a researcher and professor of church leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, according to the United Methodist News Service.

Weems made his comment after viewing findings from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey, which was released last week. The study showed nearly half of American adults said they left the faith tradition of their upbringing and either switched religious affiliations or left the faith tradition altogether.

Of the 53 per cent who left the Methodist Church of their childhood, 19 per cent went to evangelical churches, 11 per cent to other mainline Protestant churches 3 per cent to historically black churches, and 8 per cent to a non-Protestant religion. Moreover, 12 per cent say they no longer are part of any faith group.

Although the Pew study confirms previous data collected on The United Methodist Church and religion in the United States, many say the study provides a comprehensive and more detailed picture of the latest trends in the US religious landscape.

Of the 78 per cent in the country who are Christian, according to the Pew survey, 18.1 per cent belong to mainline Protestant churches which are predominantly white and elderly and of that, 5.1 per cent are United Methodist.

"For whatever reason, a sizable population raised in the Methodist tradition is no longer Methodist. Maybe we haven't done a good job of showing what is unique and special and important about being a United Methodist," said Scott Brewer, director of research for the United Methodist General Council on Finance and Administration, which collects statistics for the denomination, according to UMNS.

United Methodists in the United States have been decreasing steadily in number for at least four decades and the denomination is currently at around 8 million members.

But the loss of members has not come without outreach efforts.

Could it be something so simple as that the Methodist have gotten so far away from their traditional teachings that the Denomination is nothing like it used to be? As a former Methodist, I can tell you that I have left the denomination because their teachings now follow such a liberal stance in that they condone gay marriage, gay preachers, support liberal politics which condone abortions and such.  This type of doctrine is nothing at all like what Wesley had in mind nor is it anything even remotely close to what the old time Circuit Riders taught.  Men such as Peter Cartwright, Francis Asbury, Enoch Mather Marvin, and John Brooks.  Read these words from Cartwright himself:

In His Own Words. . .The Price of Being a Preacher
". . .in reference to the Methodist Episcopal Church, when we consider that her ministers were illiterate...that we were everywhere spoken against, caricatured and misrepresented; without colleges and seminaries, without religious books or periodicals, without missionary funds, and almost all other religious means; and our ministers did not for many years, on an average, receive over fifty dollars support annually, and a Methodist preacher's library almost entirely consisted of a Bible, Hymn Book, and a Discipline, may we not, without boasting, say with one of old, 'What hath God wrought?' A Methodist preacher in those days, when he felt that God had called him to preach, instead of hunting up a college or Biblical institute, hunted up a hardy pony of a horse and some traveling apparatus and. . .cried 'Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.' In this way he went through storms of wind, hail, snow, and rain; climbed hills and mountains, traversed valleys, plunged through swamps, swam swollen streams, lay out all night, wet, weary, and hungry, held his horse by the bridle all night, or tied him to a limb, slept with his saddle blanket for a bed, his saddle or saddle bags for his pillow, and his old big coat or blanket, if he had any, for a covering. Often he slept in dirty cabins, on earthen floors, before the fire. . .His text was always ready, 'Behold the Lamb of God.' "
  -- From Cartwright's Autobiography (emphasis mine)

Can anyone compare the above philosophy to today's standards?  I think not. What do you think about this article?