Methodism started out as a missional alternative to establishment Christianity, but is now like the establishment Christianity it once critiqued.
In this book, Dr. Hunter asks whether enough New Testament Christianity exists in any institutional form of Christianity, including The United Methodist Church, to change the world.
If United Methodism is to survive, it must recover bold directions in ministry, in addition to Wesleys theological vision. If only it was so simple as to stand on Wesleys shoulders to see our way forward. This means that laity and clergy must be biblically informed, spiritually energized, and systematically organized.
If United Methodism is to thrive, it needs to focus on mission, recalling that early Methodism was an extravagant expression of missional Christianity. Net membership decline is not from losing more people but from reaching fewer people than it used to.
The need for the gospel of Jesus Christ is greater than ever. United Methodists must create structures and serve God and neighbor in order to spread, as Wesley admonished, scriptural holiness throughout the land.
George G. Hunter III is Distinguished Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the author of several books, including Radical Outreach and The Celtic Way of Evangelism, both published by Abingdon Press.