One of the funniest things about being on Facebook is the process people go about unfriending each other or leaving groups. There are plenty of memes about this phenomenon but my all time favorite for accuracy says “Im going to unlike this page right after I post about unliking this page and hang around to see what people say about me unliking this page”. Somewhere along the way, we taught people that if you don’t like something you should just leave. You don’t like what’s on TV, just change the channel. You don’t like the song on the radio, go to the next station. You don’t like what your church is doing, just leave.
One of these things is not like the other… While people (hopefully) don’t change churches like they change tv channels, there is at least a trend of people leaving churches because they don’t like something. As I’m writing this, I’m streaming the General Conference that is addressing the Way Forward concerning Human Sexuality. At this particular point, they are discussing ways in which a church could disaffiliate with the UMC if they don’t agree with the outcome of this conference. In other words, they’re talking about how they can leave if they don’t like it.
I want to propose an alternative though. Instead of leaving if you don’t like the church, stay. If you leave, we lose your voice. If you leave, you have lost the ability to fix the problem. But if you stay, you can be part of the solution. You can be the person who points out “this isn’t right”. You can be the person who shows us another way. When you choose to stay, you are saying that this issue is important enough to fight for.
In 1 Corinthians 12 we find a wonderful passage about one body, many parts. I want to point out a couple verses specifically.
Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.
If you think our church doesn’t need you, you’re absolutely wrong. We need you. We need your ideas, your passion, and your corrections. We need you to help make us better. So if you don’t like what has happened in the UMC, stay.