The Way Forward: What’s Next Right Now?

What a time of year to be thankful, and as we reflect on all the things in our life God has blessed us with, I wanted to catch you up on what God continues to do behind-the-scenes in our church. What does behind-the-scenes mean? Are these the secret things that leadership doesn't want people to know? Not at all! Behind-the-scenes includes all the day-to-day operations and some of the new demands of being self-governing. The pastors, staff, and Core Leadership Team usually handle all of these matters, but we want all members to know what is happening. We want to inform you about some of the operational and organizational decisions in light of our disaffiliation with UMC.

The first significant piece of the puzzle will occur on Saturday, December 3, from 9:00 AM—12:00 PM. Your pastoral staff and conference lay delegates will attend a special called Annual Conference of the Texas Conference. The Texas Conference will gather at First UMC of Houston (Westchase Campus). The primary piece of business is officially voting out the disaffiliating churches. Over 250 churches are disaffiliating within the conference. Once this official business is over, John Wesley will change internal and external signage.

Secondly, a group of skilled at-large members and the Core Leadership Team will gather at the end of November to develop the final version of the new bylaws and the discipline (governance) documents for John Wesley Methodist Church. After the final documents are prepared, the CLT will bring these before a special called Church Council meeting to vote into effect usage as of January 1, 2023. We need to have these documents so our church attorney can file all legal papers on January 1, 2023. Once the Church Council has voted on the documents, your leadership will make all documents available to members via the website.

Last but not least, I want to share what your pastoral staff is doing for those who have struggled with the disaffiliation in our local congregation. The pastors will send a note to members who voted against the disaffiliation. We want everyone to know their pastoral staff is still here to serve them no matter the church's affiliation. Members will also begin to see information about retaining their UMC membership at John Wesley. If you do not specify a desire to remain UMC, all members will automatically transition to John Wesley Methodist Church membership.

Please be on the lookout for another post about the status of your pastors to the UMC. The pastoral staff will remain the same for John Wesley Church moving forward into 2023. The post will explain how each pastor relates to the UMC, if at all. There are multiple options for the pastors, from early retirement to complete disconnection, and a couple of other options that need further explanation for those containing Deacon status. Please be on the lookout for this information. You are welcome to ask each pastor individually about their plans; they are happy to share how they will remain a part of the JW family.

I want to share a few critical events coming this Spring:

End of January: The Chairpersons and members of all JW Teams will gather for the annual Leadership Retreat. This meeting will be different from years past. The Pastors and lay leaders will explain the new roles of the governance teams in our church in light of the new bylaws and disciple.  

Mid-February: Please be on the lookout for our JW Missions Sunday. Missions Sunday will be a celebration of all our mission/reach partnerships. We will have special guests visiting the church and a large fundraiser to help with the annual 2nd-mile giving needed for mission/reach projects.

May 21, 2023 @ 5 PM: The first-ever Church Conference for John Wesley Methodist Church will occur. We will spend the hour celebrating all God has done and will do through the church. In addition, the new Core Leadership Team, yearly budget, and all new members of the Ministry Leadership Teams will be up for approval. Please mark your calendars for this historic conference.

In Christ,
Dr. Marty Dunbar