Hi Pastor Krueger,
My name is Justin Haskins and I am not a member of the United Methodist Church, although I am seriously considering it. However, I tend to fall on the more orthodox side of the theological spectrum, so to speak, and one of my concerns about the United Methodist Church is that there are many parishes which are absolutely not orthodox, especially here in Chicago; some even openly question the divinity of Christ or the need for Him.
So, with that said, is there any way I can differentiate one parish from another without jumping from parish to parish? It's a lot easier, it seems, to tell apart orthodox Lutherans from liberal Lutherans (especially because of the different denominations), orthodox Anglicans from liberal Anglicans, and so on. In the United Methodist Church, it seems much more difficult.
Any advice you may be able to give me on this matter or suggestions would be wonderful. Thank you and have a blessed Easter!
After attending church this morning we were discussing the same subject. We are new at this church - 5 months - and just beginning to get some idea of the tenor of the congregation. I am a retired pastor with over 60 years of experience. It goes to show how complex this is at United Methodist churches if I have problems with scoping out the real climate of a congregation.
One suggestion is to visit and not jump.When you visit have a list of things to observe at each place and do a sort of journal. Study their web pages carefully. Check out the background of the pastor and how long he/she hse been there.
This is labor intensive but can be eye-opening. If you feel good about a place avoid joining until it seems right.
Really good question. Consider writing something about your findings.
A Blessed Easter to us all.