Okay, friends, what have we learned? First, General Conference is hard. It is emotionally, physically and spiritually taxing. It demands a Herculean amount of concentration and effort, sifting and sorting and making sense of thousands (literally) of pages of very tiny print of churchy legalese. And it is not perfect. We passed a plan, then it was ruled unconstitutional. Is it the end of the church? No, no matter what the doom-and-gloomers might want you to believe. We are left with the flawed church we have had for years. Now we need to get creative and work together to make it better. We need to stop worrying quite so much about our hierarchy and power and think instead about our potential and authority.
Our theme this year at General Conference is our mission — yet we have not given any measurable time to thinking, dreaming, talking, planning or scheming about what this really means to us. What would it be like if we came to consensus that disciple-making is a worthwhile past time? We could spend two weeks together crafting strategy to transform the world. Wouldn’t that be cool? Instead of lamenting that we have so many small membership churches, what if we optimized our potential and made stellar small membership churches a badge of honor. What if we took time in Christian conference to talk about scriptural authority in a global context? What if our time was about building bridges instead of walls?
Many are disappointed by our aborted quadrennial gathering and the lack of decisions made. But could it be that we failed in our decision-making because we are deciding on too many wrong, less important things? This is a mandate to get our act together. Our planning needs to shift from form to function, process to performance. We cannot let things rest as they are. The time for renewal and redemption is now. Let’s all commit to work together to bring something great out of our chaos.