Re:Think Church

I finally got a chance to see the new Re:Think church video that the UMC is putting out. It is great. As one blogger I read said, “I think Mr. Wesley would be proud.

Re:Think Church

  1. Steven Manskar says:

    I’ve seen this video three or four times now. I’m sorry, but every time I see it the less sense it makes to me. I do not think Mr. Wesley would be proud. I think he would be rather ticked, frankly. There is no mention of Christ or mission or sacrifice or grace or faith. The “church” being described could be a social service club, mosque, synagogue, or perhaps a Christian congregation.

    Apparently I am not the audience for this campaign. The more I see of this campaign, the more concerned I become for the future of The United Methodist Church.

    I’m curious as to what you think John or Charles Wesley would affirm in this video. I’m not trying to be critical. I really want to know because I simply do not get it.

  2. Jeff Lutz says:

    I like this video, because I seem to think that we have been preaching faith and grace so much that it has become trite. Trite to the point where most churches in the UMC have become social clubs where it is a do as I say, not as I do mentality. As it says in James, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do,” and it is my experience that a lot of UMC churches give money, and do very little. So much so that I see youth streaming from the UMC.

    Sorry, that has been my experience.

    As for John Wesley approving the video, didn’t he get banned by some of the Anglican church because they wouldn’t let the poor into the church? Didn’t he go out and preach to the poor about justice and mercy?

    That’s why I see it the way I do, I think we have gotten to a point of the old Church of England that Rev. Wesley was a part of.

  3. Steven Manskar says:

    Jeff, you are absolutely correct in saying the contemporary UMC is equivalent to the 18th century Church of England.

    I also agree with you that for far too long too many UMC congregations have been dispensers of cheap grace.

    John Wesley got in trouble for preaching the good news of justification by grace through faith across Britain. His troubles were not caused by his ministry with or advocacy on behalf of the poor.

    The problem I have with the Re-Think Church video is just that I see no gospel in it. All I see is a lot of very nice people doing good things for and with each other. There is no mention of faith, mission, or participation in Christ’s mission for the world.

    My hope is that what the campaign is getting at is that the UMC needs to reclaim its Wesleyan missional DNA; that we need to be about re-forming our congregations and planting new ones to be Christ-centered sign communities of the coming reign of God.

    But because this campaign is being planned and run by marketers and advertising people, I don’t think that is what they have in mind.

  4. Will says:

    I would have to agree with Steven. There is no mention of Jesus, I think God is only seen as a word written as graffitti, and nothing whatsoever about salvation. For me, it is only slightly better than those new agey commercials about finding one’s path from a couple of years ago.

  5. Amy Lutz says:

    Nice find. Thanks for sharing.

    Yes, of course it has marketing slant to it, but as a former missionary for GBGM of the UMC, I have to say that this video really is the essence of service to Christ for me. It demonstrates the love of Christ by giving of yourself to live out justice and mercy. Doing the work of Christ is hard work. Being the hands and feet of Christ is hard work. This attempts to show that work. The love of Christ comes through that work, in words or in actions. Regardless, Jesus is there.

    Our church is currently exploring what it means to be a missional church. To get outside the doors and live out – do – the work and love of Jesus. This may mean that Sunday service for an individual or family is doing something else, like collecting canned goods for the local food bank. I think this is what this video is prompting.

    Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
    I have heard you calling in the night.
    I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
    I will hold your people in my heart.

  6. Tom says:

    I guess you know you might have touched a button of mine within the comment section of the video post.

    I guess “Re: Think Church” says different things to different people. We saw it in worship this morning. I am glad you published it here so I could really look at it critically on the “big screen.”

    I do not know the backgrounds of the others commenting whose last name does not start with Lutz, but as a “seasoned” Christian, I think this video speaks volumes about doing the work of Christ.

    That work is hard, it is dirty sometimes and it often does not reap rewards for years, but what is that compared to eternity?

    Why do youth stream from the UMC as you suggest? I am not sure. I know at our church (First UMC, Newberg) the youth openly complain about doing mission with the hungry. So where do they head? You guessed it: where the “action” (read that social) is. That was my experience from from 30 years ago, too. We had the action, so we had the numbers.

    Working with youth is doing the work of Christ. Giving comfort to the elderly is doing the work of Christ…even, if, as you point out, it appears to be a Social Club setting. There are hurting people there too. Those images are all captured in the video.

    I submit that congregations of any persuasion are social clubs in the broadest sense of the word.

    I am afraid we confuse style of worship or the words used in worship as making them Christ-centered. I don’t judge it that way, but that is me with 68 years of “Methodism” (in six congregations from coast to coast) under my belt. How do we back up our faith? To me…and this is me and I am not an absolutist… by feeding the hungry. That is doing church; furnishing shelter is doing church; comforting the sick is doing church. I see Christ in all these places…in the faces of those doing the work and yet I do not need to hear His name mentioned. I know He is there.

    I am not about to defend every congregation of every Jurisdiction of the UMC, but I am offended when folks cavalierly feel sorry for me (that is, my church.) I find that patronizing. But being of a more liberal bent, I can overlook the shortcomings of those I love 🙂


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