Methodists in Utah

These pictures are from the stunning mountainside of Park City, Utah.

Julie and I were there for three days last week at a gathering of Methodist pastors.

A gathering of Methodists in Utah sounds weird, I must admit. There’s another religious group beginning with “M” that we usually associate with that state.

Yet there we were at the Leading Edge Conference, an annual gathering of pastors of the 100 highest attended United Methodist Churches in the Country. This year, 89 of those pastors showed up along with 20 or so bishops . . . who I think wanted to see what we are up to.

What are we up to? The purpose is three-fold: 1) share best practices; 2) mutual encouragement and exhortation; and 3) planning and praying for the renewal of the denomination.

Some interesting statistics about these churches:

1) The largest is the Church Of The Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas with about 17,000 members and 8,000 in weekend attendance.

2) The smallest of the “100” averages 1189 people per Sunday.

3) Four churches come from Mecklenburg county: Matthews, Good Shepherd, Myers Park, and Davidson.

4) Of the 89 pastors in Utah, 23 hold degrees from Asbury Seminary. That’s a remarkable statistic, especially considering that ATS is not an “official” United Methodist school in the same way as Duke, Emory, or SMU.