Changes made during and after the United Methodist Church’s 2012 General Conference, according to the final report of the Call to Action Interim Operations Team, are insufficient to address the challenges the denomination faces.
Dramatically different and new behaviors, not incremental changes, are required,” said the nine-page report. “We have not yet seen the degree of shared sense of urgency or commitment to systemic adaptations with the redirection of leadership expectations and sufficient resources that our situation requires.”
The report calls on the denomination to:
Refocus a higher share of resources and attention on congregations to promote and cultivate the drivers of vitality
Become equally driven by passion for increased accountability with measurable results — alongside the important values of guaranteeing vibrant diversity in leadership and the articulation of visionary intentions.
Streamline structures; reduce the sense of “distance” between parts of the connection; require much higher levels of alignment throughout The United Methodist Church
The team developed proposals for the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Fla., to consolidate agencies and redistribute funds toward recruiting young clergy….
General Conference delegates by almost 60 percent approved an amended version of the group’s restructuring proposals, called Plan UMC. But on the last day of the assembly, the Judicial Council — the denomination’s equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court — ruled the plan violated the denomination’s constitution.
The Interim Operations Team also called for a nonresidential bishop to lead the Council of Bishops and build collaborative work on increasing the number of vital congregations. However, the constitutional amendment to create the post fell short of the two-thirds vote required to pass.
Yet, General Conference did approve the Interim Operations Team’s proposal to redirect funding to identify, recruit and support clergy under the age of 35. Delegates established a new $5 million fund for theological education in central conference regions of Africa, Asia and Europe, and $7 million to recruit and train young clergy in the United States.
The Team did point to positive developments, and remains optimistic that real change can happen regardless of legislation that was not enacted.