Bishop Coyner came to my office for the day Monday. We talked a lot of ministries going on in our district that are vital and those who are merely being "propped up" by our resources. So much of our time and money and energy and buildings are being wasted on programs and ministries that should really just be allowed to die. Look around the town where you live. Chances are you have at least one United Methodist Church within a few miles of your house. I want you to try to think of 3 good, vital ministries that church has that really reach people in the community. Can you think of any? Many churches in our denomination are so caught up in traditions, buildings, and other things that really don't matter. Just because we did ministry effectively "that way" 50 years ago doesn't mean it will be effective still.
When Bishop Mike talked about this problem in our church, I couldn't help but see this face in my mind:
You've seen Weekend at Bernie's, right? It's a hilarious movie. I must have watched it a thousand times when I was younger. I had an odd crush on Andrew McCarthy, and you have to admit the antics of trying to make a dead man look alive are pretty entertaining. They put sunglasses on him, take him to fun parties, take him water skiing, etc. You see quickly that it's a real chore dragging around a dead body trying to make him seem alive. The guys fake it for a while, and fool quite a few people. Eventually a few people catch on, the body gets rank, and the challenge of simulating life in death becomes too much to bear.
Do you have a "Bernie" ministry in your church? What can we do to bury all our Bernies and put our time and energy in to vital ministries???