Western North Carolina Evangelical Movement — Inaugural Meeting

As some of you know, I spent several days last week in Lake Junaluska for the meeting of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference. 

This yearly gathering (I guess why it’s called the Annual Conference) gathers together 2500 pastors and lay people from the western part of our state for three days of worship, reunion, and, on occasion, debate.

One of the highlights this year was the first public meeting of the Western North Carolina Evangelical Movement. 

What is an evangelical?  Here’s how we define it:  http://wnccem.org/what-is-an-evangelical/

And who are we as a people?  Check here:  http://wnccem.org/who-we-are/

And why do we find it necessary to identify ourselves and then gather together?  Well, with large segments of the denomination identifying itself as progressive and abandoning the historic understanding of the Christian faith, and with even larger segments giving evidence of spiritual complacency, those of us who hold to the enduring truthfulness of the ancient creeds need to meet together for encouragement, education, and advocacy.

After a year of planning, writing, and uploading, we were ready at Annual Conference to “go public.”  We did so with a breakfast meeting that featured a guest presentation by Bill Bouknight, former pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee and current staffer for the Confessing Movement. 

I had heard Bouknight’s name and seen his picture but had never heard him speak . . . and as a result I was completely unprepared for the energy, passion, and truthfulness that he brought to our breakfast meeting.  Speaking to a crowded room, Bouknight was simply electric.

He left us with three challenges for our local churches and for our Conference-wide movement:

1.  Extend invitations at the close of your worship service . . . Methodists in general seem to have forgotten how to do to this.  If you’re going to preach the gospel, give people a chance to respond to the gospel.   (I wish he’d been at GSUMC yesterday!)

2.  Extend invitations all week long wherever you are.  Spend more time with people who DON’T go to your church than with people who do. 

3.  Grow this Evangelica Movement so that you have outposts in every District throughout the Annual Conference.