2020 State of the Church Report: Blessed is the Church

 

The United Methodist Church has continued to carry out its mission despite the unique challenges and uncertainties of 2020. That’s according to the new 2020 State of the Church Report produced by the Connectional Table and United Methodist Communications, themed “Blessed is the Church.”  

The report uses the framework of the Beatitudes to share a compilation of stories that provide an inspiring look at the ways the church responded in an unprecedented year – which included a global pandemic, renewed calls to end racism, a delayed General Conference and the possibility of a denominational split.
 


The stories share how United Methodists looked to God for hope and guidance in the face of extraordinary challenges, shared resources and wisdom, offered comfort in the face of grief, practiced spiritual disciplines, provided physical aid and spiritual support, continued to be a force for peace and reconciliation, stood up for the persecuted and oppressed, sought justice and stayed true to the denomination’s mission.

“This was hardly a year of blessing. Yet we have chosen to use these Matthean blessings (Mt. 5:1-14) — these Beatitudes  — as the framework for this report. That is because they describe our identity as a church, not our circumstances,” said the Reverend Kennetha J. Bigham-Tsai, Chief Connectional Ministries Officer.

The report features a video message from Bishop Christian Alsted, chair of the Connectional Table, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, president of the Council of Bishops, Bishop Michael McKee, chair of the General Council on Finance and Administration, and Bishop Mande Muyombo, incoming chair of the Connectional Table. The video incorporates original music – a song created around the Scriptural theme.

“We have been the Christian community of which Jesus spoke in his Sermon on the Mount,” said Bishop Alsted. “We have been the poor in spirit. We have been those who mourn. But we also have been the Church, living out a Gospel of love and being in ministry with and for a world that has faced untold illness and millions of deaths.”

“All of our people have had to deal with the loneliness and isolation that has come with this pandemic. Yet, United Methodists have still done the ministry to which we are called,” said Bishop Harvey. “We have found ways to continue ministering to one another and to reach out, beyond the walls of the church, to engage the community as never before.”

Bishop McKee noted church members gave almost $40 million to apportionments to support ministry around the globe in December 2020. “It was the highest rate of giving in one month in the history of The United Methodist Church. And it came during a global health crisis. It came during a time of economic stress. It came because United Methodists are faithful in their mission and ministry,” he said.

“If we continue to let our light shine, it will draw others to the light of Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Muyombo. “If we continue to hold onto our saltiness, we will be a church that is salt to the earth. If we continue to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to work for peace, to comfort the mourning and lift up the poor, then we will be God’s blessing to the world.”

The State of the Church report is available in its entirety online, along with previous reports, at ResourceUMC.org/church-report. Local churches and annual conferences are encouraged to post on their websites and there is an option to download the video for use in Sunday worship or annual conference sessions.

Resources for Vital Congregations

 

CHURCH LEADERSHIP

Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources

eLEAD

Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians

DISCIPLE FORMATION:

Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations

WESLEYAN STUDIES:

Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology

REACHING PEOPLE:

Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging

RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:

Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children

GRANTS:

The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment

OTHER:

The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
 
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

 
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at hfleming@wnccumc.net.
 

 

  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.