I'm currently employed by the United Methodist Church. I did not grow up in this specific denomination (I'm happy serving in any holiness denomination such as Church of the Nazarene, Wesleyan Church, and the Missionary Church which I grew up in. I strongly believe denominations should work together, because in the end, we're all on the same team with (hopefully) the same goal of bringing people to Jesus and living that transformational life as a result).
There are a lot of great things about the UMC.
But one pastor, Craig Groeschel, of LifeChurch.TV was asked by a leader in the UMC to make some suggestions for improvement in the UMC.
He had six suggestions.
Suggestion #1 - Reprioritizing of Financial Resources (citing more funds for church planting).
Suggestion #2 - Removal of itinerant system that locates and relocates pastors by the decision of the district (as opposed to the local church) which can create uncertainty and doubt about the future, etc.
Suggestion #3 - The long ordination process and mandatory seminary (M.Div program) which stunts leaders. The process means well, but Craig claims it is out of date (leaders want to get in the game, we now have multiple ways to develop outside of the seminary, and there is a growing scrutiny of many (not all) seminaries and their practicality).
Suggestion #4 - Fixing the apportionment/tithing issue that churches pay to the UMC. Facts were a little vague on this one. In Indiana, I think we tithe 10-15%.
Suggestion #5 - Merging UMC's to create multi-sites and thus working together and combining resources. Merging churches is something I'm not an expert on, but I think it has potential. The link has info on what Craig means by "merging churches."
Suggestion #6 - Splitting the UMC. I know, I know...we have enough denominations out there.
But let's face it - There are two types of UMC's
1. Conservative/Evangelical UMC's that follow the UMC church doctrine (And keeping the doctrine conservative at conference votes)
2. Liberal UMC's who have a differing opinion on a variety of issues (Authority of Scripture, homosexuality, etc).
I don't know if this will ever happen. I am fairly confident that if the UMC doctrine ever adopted liberal changes then there would be a mass exodus of pastors and congregations.
#2 and #3 definitely affect me as a pastor, though not quite as much since I feel called to youth ministry until otherwise told by God and do not have to go through the ordained process (most youth pastors in the UMC are hired by the local church and are not ordained).
The other four suggestions are big picture ideas and I think they are worth discussing.