So Why Do I Stay?
I do get questioned about staying in the UMC. Friends wonder when I'll "come back" to the non-denominational Christian Church (where I grew up and where I was ordained). Friends wonder how I can stay in a denomination that has often ignored the important for the urgent. Where the loudest voices shout about things that are secondary. Where adherance to Christian standards seems secondary to being "open" (minds, doors, hearts, anyone?). Where even adhering to denominational doctrinal standards seems "open to consideration." Where numbers are declining rapidly. Where cultural Methodism often takes precidence over historical Methodist practices. Where Boards of Ordained Ministry are often rude and cruel to candidates who have given their lives to follow a call to ministry (there are posts about this all over the blogosphere - look for them; the stories aren't pretty).
Quite simply, I stay because I believe this is where God wants me.
The obedience (or possible lack thereof) of the denomination does not excuse me from obedience. I believe in the movement that John and Charles Wesley started. I believe in their call to holiness (social and personal - the two cannot be separated). I believe in doing life together (which we are trying to do through our cell group ministry).
I stay because God is using me here.
I stay because I believe God can use the current crisis in the UMC to bring about His changes, to help us be about His work.
I stay because I believe that God can and will continue to work through the United Methodist Church.
I stay because I'm in a local church where God is moving in powerful ways.
That's why I stay.