It has been suggested that the reason why local Methodist Churches are waiting on the September 2021 General Conference before leaving is financial. That is, there is a belief that it is “too expensive” to litigate or negotiate a way out of the denomination now. That argument is simply not true.
While financial considerations do play a role, our experience is that finances are not the reason why so many local churches are sitting on the sidelines waiting for the September 2021 General Conference. Rather, the single largest reason is lack of leadership. The local churches who do not have a strong leader – whether that is the Pastor or the leadership team – are simply too tired, timid and dejected to go through the disaffiliation process. The Conferences know this and are counting on it so that most local churches simply do nothing. I am convinced that is why they required, as part of the proposed separation protocol, that the local church that does nothing stays in the denomination.
In every case where we have successfully completed the disaffiliation process for a local church, there has been at least one strong leader that is capable of withering criticism, has staying power, authority and buy in from the members of the local church that drives the process. Without the leader, the process does not move forward and simply stalls.
With this being said, you are right that finances play a large role in the decision making calculus of the local church as to when they should leave. Leadership, or the lack thereof, is the biggest issue.
Please feel free to contact us to discuss your disaffiliation matter. We also have a new eBook that addresses what a local church should think about while waiting on General Conference that you can review as part of planning for the disaffiliation process. We would love serve as your guide through this process.