Future of Our Church
Christian Discernment (verb): A decision-making process, guided by God, to help an individual make a discovery that can lead to future action.
We are in a season of discovery at our church. Will we remain a part of the current United Methodist Church? Will we find a new home in the future Global Methodist Church?
[Added 10/3] As we enter the last week of our discernment process, here are reminders about calendar items and new information for your reading:
- Your opportunity to ask questions about possible disaffiliation from the UMC will be at our second Town Hall, Sunday, October 9, 4-6 pm in the Sanctuary. View the Agenda and information on our guest pastors. Childcare is available.
- For a more informal conversation about the future of the church, attend the morning coffee or evening dessert time on October 10; 8:30 a.m. and 7:00 pm respectively, in the Gathering Hall.
- A requirement of the disaffiliation process, is to become current on apportionments. Our Finance committee has provided this spreadsheet, which tallies what has been paid and withheld.
- Walking a prayer labyrinth can be a sacred and revelatory experience as we encounter God at every juncture and even in the stillness. We will have a prayer labyrinth in the Sanctuary, Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 10-12, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. You do not need to reserve a time to participate.
- Specific to the vote on October 12, at 7 pm in the Sanctuary, you can read the motion in advance. Remember, the vote is open to members only and you must be present to vote.
- Under the United Methodist Church Information tab, there are six videos produced by the UMC responding to the six Global Methodist Church videos about the future of our denomination.
- Also under the United Methodist Church Information tab, there is a link to a compilation of major articles, opinion pieces, and other information regarding disaffiliation through the last nine months, and a fifth installment in the “Ask the UMC” series.
The Jeremiah 29 Task Force of Christ UMC was charged with “studying the question of our congregation’s affiliation and how information can best be shared with the membership.” We’ve been meeting for many months, and this website is the beginning of the information we have collected.
Our website does not offer a recommendation for your decision. Jeremiah 29:11, says: “For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We are relying on the promise of that scripture as we consider the future direction for our congregation, and we pray that you will as well as you begin personal discernment and prayer.
On this site there is a section with General Information and there will be one devoted to the activity of the Jeremiah 29 Task Force.
There also will be sections for the predominant church affiliation options. You may find that content within one denominational tab conflicts with that in another. We encourage you to research diligently and explore evenly as you do the work of personal discernment.
Your questions, suggestions, thoughts are welcome by email or regular mail to our workroom mailbox; each is read by all members of the Task Force, and questions answered to the best of our knowledge.
Going forward we will add to this website, offer to speak to Sunday Schools and small groups, and members will be present at the various scheduled gatherings and town hall meetings led by our pastoral staff and church leadership.
Ultimately, however, the decision of your church home rests solely with you. We ask that you consider all options, hold grace-filled conversations and seek answers through prayer.
Key Dates to Know
Ongoing – Task Force members available to listen and answer questions from groups
Aug. 15 – Joint meeting Trustees/Finance to consider affiliation implications; 7:00 pm.
Aug. 21– Sign ups start for Daily Prayer Walk [link added 8/21]
Sept. 1 – Daily Prayer Walk, 12:29 pm Moment of Prayer and Daily Devotionals begin; through Oct. 10 [Details in General Information]
Sept. 18 – Town Hall Educational Meeting, in sanctuary and live streamed, 4:00 – 6:00 pm. View the 9/18 meeting here. Click to view the 9/18 Town Hall Q&A.
Sept. 25– [updated 10/3] Called Church Conference to consider a motion to hold an Oct. 12 Church Conference. All Church members present are able to vote. Click here to view the complete video.
Oct. 2 – Last day to join the church if desiring to vote Oct. 12, should a vote be called
Oct. 9– Town Hall Educational Meeting, in sanctuary and live streamed, 4:00-6:00 pm. View the Agenda for 10/9. View the 10/9 meeting here. Click to view the 10/9 Town Hall Q&A.
Oct. 10 – Morning Coffee/Evening Dessert with pastors and Task Force members; 8:30-10 am/7-8:30 pm.
Oct. 10-12 — Prayer Labyrinth set up in the Sanctuary; 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. You do not need to reserve a time.
Oct. 12 – Church Conference affiliation vote, 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary; check in starts at 6:30 pm. View the full motion we are voting on. The Book of Discipline requires only in person voting; must be a member. You do not need to pre register. Childcare will be provided.
For more detail, see Affiliation Discernment Process Timeline. [Updated 9/26]
Contact the Task Force
The Jeremiah 29 Task Force started its discovery process in much the same way that most of you will: asking what, why and how. We offer this General Information to help you with the same questions.
Daily Prayers of Discernment [Added 8/19]
Our Daily Prayers of Discernment began September 1. We encourage you to join in one or all of these ways to cover Christ Church in prayer during this period of discernment:
- Daily Prayer Walk. You, your family and your small group are invited to participate in covering Christ Church in prayer. You may choose to walk inside the buildings, outside our buildings, or both, at a time convenient for you. Select the day through our Sign Up Genius form; we will send you a reminder before your date with needed information.
- At 12:29 p.m. every day, wherever you are, pause and pray for the future of our Church. Know that others, all over our area, are joining you at the same time. Form your own prayer or pray these three intercessions. Tip: set the timer on your phone as a reminder.
- Please fill our thoughts and holy conversations with the peace, love, and kindness that only come from our God.
- We ask for ears to listen and hear God’s voice and hearts to always confess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
- Help us walk through this season seeking after God’s wisdom and love.
- Every day we are called to pray and listen for God’s Holy Word. Pastor Michelle Hall, along with our pastors and some members of the Jeremiah Task Force, have contributed to this Daily Devotional booklet [added 9/1] to aid in your prayer time. You can find it on our site, or pick up a hard copy at the Church reception area.
Remember: listening for God is an essential component of prayer.
About the United Methodist Church
We found it important to learn the Structure of The United Methodist Church (UMC), so that we understood why a decision of the UMC Judicial Council, or a vote at the Texas Annual Conference, could impact our local church.
We also learned a new language of terms and acronyms, such as: “What is the ‘trust clause’?” “What is the BOD?” To help you, we developed a Local Glossary. For the definitions we’ve omitted, you’ll find 100s more at the Glossary of The United Methodist Communications website.
Ask the UMC FAQs is a series of short articles regarding where the UMC stands on doctrine, and what it believes about baptism, communion, poverty, abortion, human sexuality, and more.
To stay informed on developments, and receive news faster then we can update this website, consider a free daily, or weekly, email subscription to the UM News newsletter.
What Are the Options
This is a complex and emotional question: at once worldwide and local; equally about our congregation’s purpose and mission now and in the future; about why you chose this church as your home and what you believe will be best for you and your family going forward.
A single source of background and information was the August 7 meeting for our District; however, many were unable to attend. You can view a recording (approximately 1:00 hour) from a previous meeting. The Future Discernment Task Force of the Texas Annual Conference sponsored these meetings, which were prepared carefully to present information in a consistent and balanced approach.
We believe the sections for denominational options [Added 8/12 and 9/1] will provide a great deal of decision information, and we acknowledge that there is much to wade through. However, rather than cull the information to a few video snippets or one to two articles, we’ve decided to post all that we consider relevant, and let you decide how deeply you will explore.
The archives of the UM News, Good News magazine and UM Insight, contain many articles and opinions on what has brought the UMC to a point where schism is occurring. Take note of the source and the date of any publication you read or view, because events are moving fast and something published just four months ago can be out of date. Also recognize that secular publications and news sites, should you review those, rarely understand the deeper issues at hand.
The Texas Annual Conference offers balanced information regarding the primary denominational affiliation options:
- Comparison chart of doctrine and social principals: A Comparison of The United Methodist Church & The Global Methodist Church
- A recording of a panel discussion from the Texas Annual Conference 2022 Laity session discussing the options known as traditional, centrist, and progressive. This is long at 1.5 hours, but offers a comprehensive discussion on these three positions presented in a respectful manner.
Discernment Process at our Church
On June 5, 2022, the Church Council of our congregation passed a motion to enter the Discernment process. Accordingly, a Letter was sent to the District Superintendent of our Southwest District.
These first actions were part of the series of steps suggested by the District Superintendents of our Annual Conference in their letter Period of Local Church Discernment. As a committee we have implemented several of their suggestions, which you will recognize as you read the document.
Additional discernment articles you may find informative:
- An article from the newsletter of the UMC: What should United Methodist congregations know about disaffiliation?
- Texas Annual Conference website “Navigating the Waters,” that, while dated prior to the May 2022 Annual Conference, provides background information in the context of our Annual Conference.
- [Added 8/12] “A Pastoral Conversation Regarding Same-Sex Marriage in the Church,” co-authored in 2021 by our pastor, Chappell Temple, and our former pastor, Tom Pace, provides a scholarly, theological discussion on this critical issue that is behind much of our discussion as a church.
- [Added 8/12] The Central Texas Conference, part of our same Jurisdiction, answers the question: Why are we having this debate over human sexuality now?
Frequently Asked Questions
[updated 9/1] As of September 1, 515 questions have come from the District meetings. For expediency and to assure none are omitted, the Conference Future Discernment Task Force listed all questions, which has created a massive – albeit comprehensive – document. We encourage you to look at all entries; however, you can find the questions asked in our Southwest District meeting beginning on page 56.
[Added 9/12] The members of the Christ Church Jeremiah 29 Task Force have worked to develop the Background on the Question of Affiliation, which we hope will help the reader understand the history, dividing issues and viable options for the direction for Christ Church. In its broadest sense, the document is in a question-and-answer format, but we have provided expanded discussion where needed.
Ask the UMC FAQs, as mentioned previously, is a series of short articles regarding where the UMC stands on doctrine and what it believes about baptism, communion, poverty, abortion, human sexuality, and more.
An important part of discernment is to ask questions and prayerfully consider who we are as a church, before we begin actions to change. Throughout July and August, we have been asking questions [Added 8/12] to seek to know what the congregation holds valuable. Your input has been valuable, and we hope you will continue to give us your thoughts.
As Christ Church journeys through the next months, we will pray, listen, and learn together, keeping our eyes on Jesus, as detailed in the Affiliation Discernment Process Timeline [Updated 9/26.] This resource includes the preparation that has brought us to this point, and dates and times for scheduled and possible upcoming events.
We are available to visit with your small groups, Bible Studies, and Sunday Schools. Send your request to email@example.com.
On this webpage, you’ll find information from and about the United Methodist Church. As stated on a previous part of our site, information in this section may conflict with that in the GMC section. We encourage you to research diligently and explore evenly as you do the work of personal discernment.
United Methodist Church Informational video (4.48 minutes) produced by the UMC pastors in our area, and shown at all 10 District meetings, which were offered by the Texas Conference from July through August.
[Added 10/3] Here are six videos produced recently by the UMC responding to the six (Rob Renfroe) Global Methodist Church videos about the future of our denomination.
Six pastors from within our Texas Annual Conference address the most asked questions of the current and future UMC:
- Rev. Lindsay Kirkpatrick and Rev. Lawrence Young address: Is the United Methodist Church changing its Doctrine?(17:53 minutes)
- Rev. DeAndre Johnson and Rev. John Stephens answer: Will the future United Methodist Church have a place for traditionalists? (25:52 minutes)
- Rev. Tom Pace and Rev. Emily Chapman discuss: Do pastors in the United Methodist Church hold scripture as authoritative? (18 minutes)
What is a centrist? (8:38 minutes) Rev. Dr. Stanley Copeland, pastor at Lovers Lane UMC in Dallas, answers: “is there a place for those more traditional in their theology, more centrist in their approach, and not on either extreme, right or left?” Also see Copeland’s “Dear Dad” videos at Picklin’ Parson on YouTube.
In October 2021, young clergy from around the connection gathered to dream and vision for the future of the United Methodist Church. These are their stories.
“Who Has the Final Word?” a sermon from Dr. John Robbins, Pulaski Heights UMC, Little Rock, Arkansas. (28:00 minutes)
Articles, Documents and Websites
[Added 10/3] Here is a link to a compilation of major articles, opinion pieces, and other information regarding disaffiliation through the last nine months.
Ask the UMC, offers a series of questions and answers to help clear up some common misperceptions or misinformation around disaffiliation:
Is the UMC Really, part 1
Is the UMC Really, part 2
Is the UMC Really, part 3
Is the UMC Really, part 4
[Added 10/3] Is the UMC Really, part 5
Why the rush to disaffiliate churches from the Texas Annual Conference?
“Compassionate. Commissioned. Courageous.” by Rev. David Horton and Rev. R. DeAndre Johnson, offers a discussion on what kind of people must we become to “abide together in a spirit of grace and truth?” A three-week study guide is available.
United Methodist Disaffiliation Blues Looks at frustration from UMC members who feel balanced information is not getting presented.
That We May Be One, information and resource site from a coalition of Texas Annual Conference pastors.
The United Methodist Church website
UM Insight weekly online newsletter
The United Methodist Book of Discipline online
On this webpage, you’ll find information from and about the Global Methodist Church. As stated in a previous part of our site, information in this section may conflict with that in the UMC section. We encourage you to research diligently and explore evenly as you do the work of personal discernment.
Global Methodist Church Informational video (5:03 minutes) produced by the future GMC, and shown at all 10 District meetings, which were offered by the Texas Conference from July through August.
Rev. Rob Renfroe, president and publisher of Good News, and a leader within the Wesleyan Covenant Association, outlines the spiritual and theological issues surrounding separation.
- The United Methodist Church is Divided and Dividing (11:52 minutes)
- Our Differences Regarding the Bible (15:16 minutes)
- Our Differences Regarding Jesus (16:26 minutes)
- Our Differences Regarding Sexuality (16:01 minutes)
- Why It’s Time for Traditionalists to Leave (13:49 minutes)
- Where Should We Go? (14:13 minutes)
Dr. Sterling Allen, associate pastor of Good Shepherd UMC, interviews members of the GMC Leadership in the GMC Thursday Night Live series.
- July 14 with Rev. Jessica LaGrone (1:33 hours)
- July 21 with Bishop Mike Lowry (1:45 hours)
- July 26 with Dr. Leah Hidde Gregory (1:30 hours)
- July 26 with Rev Rob Renfroe (1:38 hours)
- July 28 with Keith Boyette, president of the GMC (2:06 hours)
- Aug. 4 with Rev. Angela Pleasants (2:19 hours)
Articles, Documents and Websites
The Time Has Come!, by Bishop Robert Hayes, as to why he is leaving the UMC.
“10 Reasons Why I’ll Join the GMC,” an opinion article by Rev. Jay Therrell, president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and an elder in the Global Methodist Church.
The Risk of Waiting from Texas WCA
Myths about the Global Methodist Church
Frequently Asked Questions about the Global Methodist Church
Global Methodist Church home page
The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) is an orthodox Wesleyan association; the Global Methodist Church’s creation and leadership has come out of this organization.
The five congregations that have left the UMC from our Annual Conference in recent years, have chosen to affiliate with the Free Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, or become independent. As stated in the video Other Options, joining another denomination or going independent, takes some work to research what affiliation entails or learning the responsibilities of being independent, such as developing a doctrine, structure and finding a pastor. The J29 task force has not pursued any of these other options.
Other Options video (3:52 minutes) was produced to give an overview of the other options for a church. It was shown, with the videos for the UMC and GMC, at all 10 District meetings, which were offered by the Texas Conference from July through August.
Bishop Jones addressed option options in his overview at the District meetings. His comments regarding going independent or joining another denomination begin at 9:20 minutes in this video.
To learn more about these other denominations, visit their websites:
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)