Shaping the Future at the UMC General Conference // M-Note 4.20.24

This weekend, I am traveling to Charlotte, North Carolina for the 2024 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. General Conference only happens once every 4 years and it is the only body that can change United Methodist Church law and policies. There will be nearly 900 elected delegates from all over the world coming together for nearly two weeks to make decisions for the future of our denomination. I am one of the six clergy delegates from the Missouri Conference.
This year’s General Conference is especially important for a few reasons. First, we did not get to meet in 2020 because of COVID. Secondly, this General Conference will have the opportunity to change long-standing discriminatory language about LGBTQ people. This is change that I have been fighting for since I started The Gathering. Finally, in the past 4 years, many of our more conservative churches have chosen to leave the denomination because they fear the church is moving in a progressive direction with regards to the inclusion of LGBTQ people. Some have become independent churches, while others have formed a new Methodist denomination. This General Conference will grapple with the implications of this exodus of more conservative churches.
While in Charlotte, there is all sorts of legislation we will consider, but there are three I think are the most important that I wanted to share with you.

  • First, we want to revise our Social Principles making them simpler and more representative of where the church is today. 
  • Second, we want to remove the harmful language that names homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching.” As well as remove the language that bars LGBTQ people from seeking marriage or ordination in the church. 
  • Finally, we want to adopt a new regional structure that will allow United Methodist churches in different parts of the world to adopt language and statements that are unique to their context. Simply put, the UMC in Africa, the Philippines, Europe and the U.S. can make different decisions with regards to social issues, finances, and structure. 

My prayer and hope is that, after General Conference, we will have a church that is more open to LGBTQ people, and has greater clarity about our mission moving forward.  
I know some of you are very interested in these conversations. I will be regularly updating all of you on what is happening in Charlotte. The best way to stay informed if you are interested is to follow my public facebook page, Pastor Matt Miofsky. I know that others of you are less interested in the inner workings of the denomination. That is not a bad thing! I will be updating the whole church about General Conference when I return.
I have been working for more than 20 years to shift the United Methodist Church to be more focused on reaching new people and inviting people to follow Christ. I have a deep belief that this includes welcoming LGTQ people into the full life and workings of the church. This is who The Gathering has been and still is.
The Gathering has always been a little different! Whatever happens at General Conference, it will not change who we are or what we do here to invite and welcome all people to follow Christ. But, it is significant that we might be, hopefully are, on the cusp of the greater church finally welcoming all people as we do here at The Gathering.
So, I ask that you pray for me and all the delegates at General Conference. Pray that we would have the wisdom, insight, and courage to listen to God, and follow accordingly. Thank you so much for being a model of what church can be. The witness of The Gathering is incredibly important to the greater denomination. What you do, and the church you are working to create is inspiring many others around the world, and we will get to see that influence this week. Thank you so much for supporting me and continuing to commit yourself to our church. It is making a difference.


P.S. Our series, Screen Time: Troubleshooting our Relationship with Technology, continues this weekend, and we’re talking about how technology can impact our relationships. It’s a relevant concern I think we can all relate to, so I hope you’ll join us and invite others you think may need to hear this message.

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