September 27, 2008
At the MinistryCOM conference, the closing speakers (Jon Acuff, who runs the delightful StuffChristiansLike blog), made this point about people and churches who break new ground:
“When you go first, you give everyone else the gift of going second.”
I don’t know if we were the first denomination to oppose slavery–we probably weren’t–but our stand in the early 1800s no doubt emboldened other denominations to take such a stand. If we didn’t go first, we at least went early.
In 1853, we sent a whole wagon train of UBs from Iowa to start churches in Oregon. I’ll bet no denomination had done anything like that.
In 2005, we eliminated regional conferences–the middle-management layer–and cut assessments to a mere 3.5%. Churches in most denominations would salivate over paying just 3.5% to higher church administration. I know our example hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Several years ago, on vacation, Pam and I attended a Vineyard church that planned to always use rented facilities, rather than pour megabucks into facilities. We haven’t had a church follow through on that strategy. We need a first.
Where else have we gone first?
Where else do we need a United Brethren church to go first?