It seems like some things never change – at least in recent years. It is January and the NFL playoffs are going on without the Dallas Cowboys. This makes 16 years with only one playoff appearance, and the finger-pointing continues.
I am a Cowboy fan but not a fan of the ownership, and I find some perverted joy when the team fails, for it represents a failure of individuals for whom I have little respect.
There needs to be a change at general manager, yet the owner doesn't want to make the change.
But the consensus is that change must be made to get the franchise on the right track.
Those of us in The United Methodist Church know about resistance to change. Each New Year, we watch the release of membership numbers that show we continue in decline.
We know we need change, but we want the change in ministry areas other than ours. We, like the general manager of the Cowboys, are willing to change the coach or players but consider what we are doing as OK.
A friend of mine works for a large telecommunications company whose focus for the year is "Change Energizes Us!"
Each morning when she turns on her computer, the screen shows this graphic. Although she was uncomfortable with it as first, she now realizes the truth of the statement – she feels energy within the organization and the possibility of a new direction.
Change is on my mind as I, a member of the NTC delegation to General Conference, prepare myself for our quadrennial gathering of 1,000 delegates to do the organizational work of the church (but remember that the real work of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world).
General Conference is the church's official governing body and the only organization that can speak for United Methodism.
This will be my third time to serve, and I know that most of the news will be about the church's position on social issues – abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, immigration, etc.
But the General Conference will deal with the possible reorganization of our church to create more fruitful congregations.
And the true work of the church happens at the local congregation level and not in Nashville, Washington, or New York.
A Connectional Table report proposes making major changes to the general agencies and discontinuing guaranteed appointments for the clergy. This is where each of us needs to focus our attention, for it is here where the possibility of renewal will happen.
In future columns, I will address the issues in detail and seek your participation with the General Conference delegates in deciding the future of The United Methodist Church.
Richard Hearne is Lay Leader of the North Texas Conference, which stretches from just this side of Bogata to just that side of Burkburnett. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.