PAstor's Q & A SESSION
In this meeting, Senior Pastor Shane Stanford addressed the changing role of the United Methodist Church today and the implications for Christ Church. He also discussed the “Still A Man” sermon series and answered questions from the audience.
What is happening in the UMC?
Currently in the United Methodist Church there is considerable conversation centered around our doctrinal position regarding the covenant of marriage and human sexuality.
The UMC’s Book of Discipline states that all people are of sacred worth to God and have a place in His family. The Book of Discipline also maintains the historical and orthodox interpretation of Scripture regarding same-sex relationships by saying, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian doctrine and teaching.”
When the General Conference met in May, it reaffirmed the UMC’s official position on these issues.
The bishops of the UMC were granted the authority at General Conference to create a broad commission, representing all sides, to study the church’s position on this doctrinal statement. Furthermore, they were empowered to call a special General Conference in the next two years to present the work and recommendation of this special committee. This group is called the Commission on a Way Forward, and those members have been named.
How does this impact Christ Church?
We are committed to reach the 700,000 people in the Memphis area who are still disconnected to Jesus Christ, and we will passionately pursue our mission of making, maturing and mobilizing disciples of Jesus Christ as we love Jesus and love like Jesus in the world.
As is our tradition at Christ Church, we will faithfully proclaim salvation through Christ and disciple the congregation by teaching the historical, orthodox and current position of the UMC from our pulpits as well as in our disciple-making missional ministries.
Recently, 1,700 people representing more than 1,000 churches in the UMC gathered for the inaugural meeting of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) in Chicago. Our pastoral leaders and lay leadership attended this one-day worship meeting in an effort to learn more about the WCA and determine whether we should participate.
Our pastors and leaders recommended to the Executive Committee that we join the association at the appropriate time. That recommendation was accepted by the committee in October 2016.
What is the Wesleyan Covenant Association?
The Wesleyan Covenant Association stands together as an alliance to advance vibrant, scriptural Christianity within Methodism. The WCA is a coalition of congregations, clergy and laity committed to promoting ministry that combines a high view of Scripture, Wesleyan vitality, orthodox theology and Holy Spirit empowerment.
What has motivated the creation of the Wesleyan Covenant Association?
Pastors and congregations have expressed an interest in creating a "place" where traditional, orthodox United Methodist churches can support and resource each other. The Wesleyan Covenant Association will bear witness to a vibrant and faithful expression of orthodox Christianity and the present position of our United Methodist Church on these critical issues of biblical authority, marriage and human sexuality.
Is the WCA going to become a new denomination?
That is not the association's intent. The WCA hopes the United Methodist Church can remain united.
The WCA longs for a church that leads with grace and is committed to the truth of God's will revealed through Scripture and embodied in Jesus Christ. As a part of the WCA, we will work for a vibrant expression of Wesleyan Christianity within the United Methodist Church.
However, we are mindful of the deep disagreements that exist over the inspiration and primacy of Scripture, its interpretation and God’s power to transform lives through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, particularly as these core confessions pertain to our church’s sexual ethics. We believe it is imperative that United Methodists definitively answer the question: Are we a truly united church or are we two churches pretending to live as one? If we are united, then we must live according to our covenant with one another. If we are unwilling to live in covenant with one another, then we must frankly confront that reality and act accordingly.