Dear Friends of Jesus and the Allegheny West Conference of the Global Methodist Church,
A popular worship song has a refrain that captures the yearning of my heart these days. It says:
“Holy Spirit you are welcome here. Come fill this place and flood the atmosphere. Your Glory God is what our hearts long for. To be overwhelmed by your presence, Lord!” Jesus Culture
I was recently singing this song in worship and was struck by the word atmosphere. When the Holy Spirit is moving, the atmosphere changes. I can sense a change in the atmosphere of our movement these days—old things are passing away and something new has come. Each time I gather in person with other Global Methodists—whether in a gathering of our Conference leadership—the recent Beyond These Walls Conference in Houston—or with my local church on a Sunday morning—the atmosphere has changed. The Spirit is moving! Jesus is being lifted! Sin is being repented of and forgiven! Lives are being changed!
Recently, I’ve been describing the change in atmosphere this way: “You don’t realize you’re in spiritual fog, until you step into the light of day. Come into the light—the future is bright.” And “You don’t realize you’re in brackish water until you get into fresh water. Come on in, the water’s fine!” I’m so grateful to be living and serving during this season! Hear me clearly, I’m thankful for all the good our former denomination gave me in my life—it’s the connection in which I was baptized, confirmed, married, called, ordained, and given opportunity to grow and serve. I thank God for all those milestones and more, but the atmosphere had changed.
Since the congregation I serve stepped into the Global Methodist Church in January, anyone who calls our congregation their spiritual home will tell you—the atmosphere has changed. One reason is our church leadership did a great job helping our people understand the goal was never disaffiliation. The goal was never affiliation. This has been about so much more than changing our church’s name. The goal was rediscovering and implementing a distinctively Wesleyan DNA into every area of our church’s life. As a result, the Spirit is moving! Jesus is being lifted! Sin is being repented of and forgiven! Lives are being changed! I’m hearing the same thing from many different places across the church. The atmosphere has changed—and the Spirit is moving!
As I write this, hundreds of churches in East Ohio, West Ohio, and Western Pennsylvania are in the homestretch of the disaffiliation process. I’m praying for those facing your disaffiliation vote next month. As you leave one season of your church and ministry history, I encourage you to do so with a full and clear heart. Give thanks for all the personal and collective good God has done in and through your former denomination. Give yourself the space to grieve and say grace over what is past. Then—give yourself permission to dream—and lean into what God is calling you to in the future. Some churches are having special worship celebrations where they give thanks for what is past—and recommit themselves to what God’s calling them to be and do in the future. Other churches are using the Wesley Covenant Service—and launching accountable discipleship groups (like call or band meetings). And as they do—the atmosphere changes.
I also encourage you to plan to join the Global Methodist Church. As Methodist Christians, we were never intended to be independent. We realize we can do more for the Kingdom together than we could ever do by being independent, isolated, and alone. One of the reasons I sense the change in atmosphere is because of our alignment with other likeminded, warmhearted, Jesus loving, Bible believing, Spirit filled, covenant keeping, Wesleyan Christians who comprise the Global Methodist Church. I encourage you to join us! Get involved! Help us shape the future God’s calling us to. Come on in, the water’s fine!
To catch a glimpse of the vision we have for our future, I encourage you to watch a vision talk I gave earlier this year to the more than 80 volunteers who’ve been working behind the scenes to put the systems and structures in place that were needed for us to be able to launch the Allegheny West Provisional Conference of the Global Methodist Church. We anticipate that by the end of the summer, there will be around 400 churches who’ve joined our Conference.
Before I close, let me give one reminder to the clergy who intend to join the Allegheny West Conference. Please be sure to follow the instructions for becoming a clergy member here, and once you’ve been accepted as a clergy person, follow the instructions for registering for pension and healthcare by following the instructions on the FAQ page on the GMC website. I want to make sure the GMC clergy who are serving under appointment in the Allegheny West Conference don’t suffer a lapse in benefits.
As we step forward in faith in this changed atmosphere—may we do so with confidence that the God who calls us is still making all things new!