A number of churches split over inclusion, those that wanted to be affirming and those, well didn’t want us. The people have decided with their feet and it was mainly one way.
Growth for some churches staying United Methodist
By Sam Hodges
Feb. 27, 2023
- Some United Methodist churches are growing by welcoming denomination members whose previous church disaffiliated.
- One church, Strawbridge United Methodist near Houston, has doubled in worship attendance over the past year, thanks largely to people coming from disaffiliated churches.
- Those arriving from disaffiliated churches tend to be knowledgeable about and committed to United Methodism, and many have church leadership experience.
Disaffiliations triggered by long conflict over LGBTQ inclusion and other matters are reducing the number of United Methodists and United Methodists churches in the U.S., and the trend is pronounced in Texas and certain other states.
But a realignment also is going on, with some United Methodist churches seeing growth spurts as they pick up members and visitors from disaffiliating churches.
That’s definitely the case at Strawbridge United Methodist.
“A year ago, we were worshipping 250,” said the Rev. Todd Jordan, senior pastor. “Now we’re worshipping 500.”
Most of the growth, he added, has come in recent months from people who had been part of large neighboring churches that chose to disaffiliate.
People are letting their feet do the walking toward love and away from animosity.
The growth trend extends to Arkansas, where First United Methodist Church of Conway has seen an influx from disaffiliated churches. And to North Carolina, where historic Centenary United Methodist Church in New Bern reports the same.
Centenary, founded in 1772, is receiving a micro-diaspora of United Methodists, given the large number of disaffiliated churches in eastern coastal North Carolina.
“We feel like we are now a refuge and a meeting place for Methodists from all over this area,” said the Rev. Van Spivey, Centenary’s lead pastor.
The churches seeing disaffiliation-related growth are dealing with certain realities, including new members and visitors who are in a tender state.
“They frequently refer to themselves as refugees,” Jordan said.
All across the country churches are losing parishioners but we have a sect that is growing when they open their arms to everyone. People are voting with their feet and they want churches that preach love over “fire and brimstone.”
I read Fox News take on this.
A megachurch in Texas voted overwhelmingly to leave the United Methodist Church (UMC) last week as the second-largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. fractures over sexuality, church government and the authority of the Bible.
St. Andrew Methodist Church in Plano, a megachurch that boasts one of the largest congregations in the Plano-based UMC North Texas Annual Conference, voted 859-12 in favor of disaffiliating from the denomination during a congregational vote on Feb. 21, according to a statement.
Several traditionalist members of the Methodist clergy told Fox News Digital last June that conservative churches are leaving in response to liberal leaders within the UMC choosing to disregard the 2019 vote by commissioning gay clergy and officiating same-sex weddings anyway.
So who do you believe? Me, my money is on United Methodist News and not Fox News.