Later in the conversation, when Ali was asked about his thoughts on the future of the United Methodist Church, he spoke of others who are missing, saying ”I feel like what we need to do is go beyond our church, go beyond our ways, reach people who are not in our religions. Religion has created many boundaries. Keep your beliefs, but don’t push it on others. Preach love, humility. Then we could get somewhere. We need to go beyond our own church, our own customs, embrace more people.”
I’ve heard leaders and advocates of various restructure plans say in one breath “this isn’t a magic bullet” and “we’re doing this to ensure we make our top priority the making of disciples” (my paraphrase).If we aren’t discussing the basic questions of discipleship —what it is, what it looks like, what changes are required to live into it— then plans of restructure are simply plans to grow the church and sustain viability. These aren’t bad things at all. Nor are they 100% mutually exclusive.But we simply can’t go on assuming that we all agree on the very basics of discipleship just because we all agree on a catch phrase.