“Jonathan, the people that work within and through the system are the real agents of change. How will the people change if no one is there to cast a vision for a new future?” – William Willimon
I’ve been participating in some discussion over at Young Clergy. And this is really the key question. Are young UMC candidates for ministry willing to stay in the system and be agents of change? The path will be slow and painful at times. People won’t understand. We may not see great change in our lifetime. The discernment comes in asking if “getting out” is following God’s lead to create new communities or being selfish and hoping for a different kind of life. (My feeling on this changes each day…) I love the United Methodist Church. I believe they stand for an openness and acceptance that are characteristics of God. But every institution slows down change as they grow larger. It’s natural that us “young, go-get-em” types want change to happen quickly. So for now, we continue to wait. We move forward in the candidacy process. We see what doors open up. We hope for our elder clergy to see our passion and pure intentions for changed hearts. We pray for opportunities to help unleash God’s Spirit in new ways we haven’t even thought of yet. We give ourselves permission to envision vibrant, authentic, organic methodist communities led by engaged, passionate and creative young clergy. We will be faithful to wherever God needs us. Even when it hurts. Because we believe in a God who sees life in the dying.