Together Towards Abundant Life: Diaspora, Presence and Witness.
Some physicists say that the universe is simultaneously expanding and contracting, and the same can be said of The United Methodist Church today. In less than half a century, Christians from the global south will restore the loss of the membership of the traditional church in the global north. While we rejoice over the exponential church growth in the global south, those of us in the leadership of the church in global north need to take measures to stop the membership hemorrhaging in the traditional church. No matter how large the sum of money and innovative programs we infuse into the structure of the denomination, unless workable solutions are put in place to end the bleeding, the church will continue to lose ground. The purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ is not to survive, any more than the purpose of our own lives is to survive. Survival is a necessity, not a purpose.
Our denomination wants to gain one million more people in this quadrennium. If so, which pond should the church fish from? And how? We need to think about where the disciples come from, especially from outside the fold, not how sheep are stolen from inside the fold. If the church has to actively get involved in outreach mission, the church's missional mandate needs to be spelled out in a coherent way in the current changed landscape.
Major shifts have taken place in the church's mission from the past to the present including shifts
- from ecclesiocentric to theocentric,
- from theocentric to Non-Governmental Organizations-centric,
- from NGO-centric to anthropocentric,
- from anthropocentric to geocentric mission.
Today, mission has migrated from denominational mission to community-oriented and individual-initiated mission. Making a difference is the goal. Hence the definition of the church's mission among our constituents has become broader, larger, and comprehensive. A definition of the church which we call ecclesiology is not a mere doctrinaire tract or a propaganda effort or a broadside. It is a spiritual stroll through "sinners'" mazy minds about faith, tradition, and reason, with an invitation to follow Jesus. Hence, sin has to be defined both in individual and structural contexts.
What is urgently needed today, I submit, is a hybrid ecclesiology; a distinct United Methodist voice; a voice that emerges from informed theological intelligence and historic connectional commitment; a theology that distinguishes the church from the larger world and other faiths and all that denies the values of Christ. To construct a truly worldwide ecclesiology, the current reality of Western Christianity sitting at the table with non-Western Christianity has to be seriously taken into account. We must accept the responsibility of planting seeds of diversity and equity; of empathy and unity, while we share our fragility, as this work is an attempt to understand a behemoth theological and missiological concept by describing it from multiple angles. With our ever-enlarging global access to the visions and voices and influences of others, let us untangle the knot of what makes up the church and whom we serve and witness to as disciples and as fellow human beings.
For more information about Asian American United Methodists' Response to the document on Wonder, Love and Praise, please read the articles on this website.
~ Rev. Jacob S. Dhamaraj, NFAAUM President
Rev. Puong Ong Lau, Treasurer
|Rev. Tsuchue Vang, Vice President - Membership
Rev. Moonyoung Kathryn Lee, Secretary
|Pong Javier, Director of Communications
and Filipino Representative
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF ASIAN AMERICAN UNITED METHODISTS
NFAAUM's General Assembly (National Convocation) will be held from August 11-12, 2017 (Friday and Saturday) at the Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Oak Street, Evanston, IL.
Several of our Asian American United Methodist Bishops, General Secretary Moses Kumar, agency staff, cabinet members, pastors and laity will be present.
All Asian American United Methodists are invited.
Registration Form with additional information about the General Assembly will be posted on the website during the first week in May.
In the meantime, if you have any question, please contact us through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org