General Conference as Revival

I have been writing about the various ways we see General Conference. It is doctrinal authority, it is family reunion, it is business session and it is also a revival.

In the early days of Methodist Conferences in America—especially quarterly conferences—people experience justification and committed their lives to Christ. For believers, these conferences were times of spiritual renewal and significant spiritual growth toward entire sanctification.

This historic practice continues today in the form of worship services and prayer ministries that take place at our conferences. Here at this General Conference, the Episcopal Address, the Laity addresses, the Young Peoples’ address and the evening worship services have been powerful. During Bishop Weaver’s presentation, I was moved to tears and was reminded of why I accepted the call to preach and then the call to serve as a bishop.

Many persons see the actions taken in the business session or the teaching about our doctrines and feel either pleased or disappointed. However, those attending General Conference have also been influenced by the worship and teaching that will never be included in the Book of Discipline or Book of Resolutions. I think there have been many inspirational moments that have impacted the lives of all who were present and all who followed online.

I have supported the Call to Action. At every point, the leaders of that effort have been clear. General Conference’s actions can help us focus on our resources on increasing the number of vital congregations. But the most important steps we can take for this effort are not legislative. They are changed behaviors by bishops, District Superintendents, pastors, lay leaders and individual United Methodists. Thus, the revival aspect of General Conference will change hearts and minds and further our progress to the church we need to be in the future.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Church History
Mike Hickcox is the former director of communications for the Society of St. Andrew and also served as manager of audio initiatives for United Methodist Communications and was director of communications for the New England Conference of The United Methodist Church. Photo by United Methodist Communications.

Share your audio to help preserve United Methodist history

A wealth of church history is contained in audio files in local churches, seminaries and annual conferences. We must act now to save those treasures.
The Rev. Sharon Austin. Photo courtesy of the Florida Conference.

COVID-19 shines spotlight on racial health care disparities

Health care disparites make childbirth a dangerous experience for many and COVID-19 is bringing that and other inequities to light.
General Church
Ann Jacob of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference is surrounded by other young people as she reads a statement on church unity at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. She is among authors of a petition urging General Conference organizers to reconsider rescheduling General Conference at the start of the academic calendar. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Bishops urge attention to GC2021 date request

The Council of Bishops pushes consideration of a petition drafted by young adult General Conference delegates. The Commission on General Conference sets the dates for the lawmaking assembly.