Dr. George Hunter has written a concise text that takes on what he sees as a failure of United Methodism in particular, and Mainline Christianity in general, to see the root of their dramatic and seemingly unstoppable decline. These eight quotes from The Recovery of a Contagious Methodist Movement provide a quick snapshot into his central arguments.
- Today, the population of the USA exceeds 307 million. At least 180 million of those people are functionally secular. This makes the USA the largest mission field in the western hemisphere and the third largest on earth. p.28
- In a given year, over 40 percent of all United Methodist churches receive no one by profession of faith, not even a child by confirmation. Why? It is the outcome of the widespread mainline approach to evangelism: “Don’t ask, don’t tell!” p.29
- Perceptions, whether they are accurate or not, take on their own reality and when acted upon over time become self-fulfilling prophesies. p.43
- The most important factor in whether a movement’s cause will ultimately prevail depends on increasing the ranks of serious committed members. (Nominal members and “free riders” are liabilities.) p.32
- In effective movements, the people have become so immersed in the movement’s narrative that they know it by heart, and they can tell it in their own words. p.33-34
- Two and a half centuries before “belonging before believing” surfaced as a new idea, early Methodism was welcoming awakened seekers into the fellowship of class meetings, and into the life of Methodist societies, before they had believed or experienced anything. As Lord Soper used to say, early Methodists knew that the faith is “more caught than taught.” p.22
- Nineteenth-century Holiness evangelists observed, “Shepherds don’t make new sheep, sheep make new sheep!” p.20
- With all of our shifting to the mainline paradigm, are there any reasons to believe that we have in fact improved on Christianity according to the Wesleys? Why not recover—and run with—a version of classical Methodism that is appropriate to our time and context? Do we have anything better to do? p.66
Dr. Hunter invites you to follow him on his new twitter account @GeorgegHunter or interact with him on his seedbed sponsored blog GeorgeHunter.me. Download his Seedbed Short From Institution to Movement available free at the Seedbed store.