I Am United Methodist Because...
I love when I hear, “You Methodists all know each other!” This is “connectionalism” at work. Each United Methodist congregation is interconnected in the denomination through an interlocking chain of conferences. Conncetionalism is just one of the main reasons why I love the United Methodist Church. Do not get me wrong, I think the United Methodist Church can do wrong and there have been times when I was not proud of the denomination. The unique connections Methodists form can make us strong. When there are clergy gatherings, whether on the district, conference, and global level or beyond, it is like a high school reunion. We, both Methodist clergy and many lay people, know each other and experience the common bond between us. We share in similar experiences, whether it is going up before the Board of Ordained Ministry, or sharing a love of John Wesley.
I love the United Methodist Church because it recognizes my call to ministry. I am called to a specialized ministry—Hispanic/Latino Ministry. I am called to be a Deacon. There are two orders to which someone might be called in the United Methodist Church—Elder or Deacon. An Elder is called to Word, Order, Sacrament, and Service, whereas a Deacon is called to Word, Service, Compassion, and Justice. A Deacon is called to be the bridge between the Church and the world. God called me to do my ministry in a conference that was not my home conference. I was welcomed into the South Carolina Annual Conference my junior year of college and began my journey toward ordained ministry. I have continued to be welcomed and support in the South Carolina Conference where my ministry has been encouraged and affirmed.
I love the United Methodist Church because of the emphasis on social action. The United Methodist Church has a history steeped in social justice ministries. From having a United Methodist presence on Capitol Hill advocating for justice for the least of these, to strive for diverse, racial/ethnic ministries in the denomination, the United Methodist Church attempts to do justice in this world. From coordinating United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) mission groups being send out around to world, to organizing United Methodist Women to rally for comprehensive immigration reform, the United Methodist Church produces mission-minded people of faith.
I believe in the work of the United Methodist Church, whether it’s the work of the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, DC or seeing how the General Board of Global Ministries missionaries serve all over the world. Our connectionalism brings us together in a common bond with a common mission, as Christians and as United Methodists. I was not born into the United Methodist Church, but I have found my spiritual calling in this denomination. I pray for unity, clarity for our future, and humility, as my beloved denomination continues to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Discussion Questions: How have connections and relationships sustained you in your ministry? What can the church do to grow even more connected?
See more devotions from Elizabeth and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.