Not long ago, I had a conversation with a fellow United Methodist pastor who reminded me that she had been on the denominational building committee which approved the final drawings for Good Shepherd’s current Worship Center.
(That’s denominational policy, by the way — and a good one, as it keeps checks and balances between congregation and connection.)
Considering that we opened our building in May of 2005, I figure this particular meeting my friend remembered took place in late 2003 or early 2004.
And her memories were tinged with some embarrassment. She reminded me that the committee wanted to make sure that our Worship Center was Methodist enough.
How do you make a worship space Methodist enough? With appropriately colored liturgical paraments, a baptismal font, and a communion table.
In other words, with symbols of the faith. All things that will one day pass away.
You know what I wish they’d told us to do to make sure our worship space and worship gatherings were sufficiently Methodist? You know what I kind of exhortations I wish they’d given me?
- Make sure you preach about prevenient grace and free will.
- Make sure you spread Scriptural holiness throughout the land.
- Make sure you remind people to flee the wrath to come.
- Make sure you offer them Christ.
- Make sure you plunge new converts into the waters of baptism.
- Make sure you teach on the Holy Spirit.
- Make sure you pray that Holy Spirit fills the people who come into that church.
- Make sure you have them leave that Worship Center and get into small groups.
- Make sure you have them sing ‘loud and long.’
That kind of denominational accountability, I believe, would have been more than “Methodist enough.”