Got Any Spare Change?


It’s now Thursday April 19th, and 4 days before we leave for General Conference. Tax season was over on Wednesday for me, so now I’m back to only 3 jobs. When I agreed to be nominated for possible election as a delegate to GC, I had no idea what my life was going to look like this spring; at the time I was asked, I had zero jobs. God has an amazing way of throwing opportunities in your path when you’re really open to them. I’m blessed to now be gainfully employed and to be heading off to Tampa for a brand-new experience.

My area of legislative responsibility is the Superintendency. While most of the rhetoric flying by us delegates has been related to the proposed restructuring plans, there are hundreds of petitions related to other matters, both large and small. The issues surrounding the bishops and their positions fall into 3 main categories:

1.   We need a presiding bishop/president/Methodist pope/etc, basically a top person in charge!

2.   Retired bishops need to shut up and sit down!

3.   Term limits! No bishops for life!

Seems to me if 1) or 3) passed, it might have an effect as large as restructuring, but there doesn’t seem to be much interest. There are the usual (since 1972, at least) petitions to change the Discipline to be more inclusive or strengthen the existing language to be less inclusive; the energy level around those issues doesn’t seem very high either. Any of you who have been involved in annual conference legislation know how after debating for hours about the “big” issues, sometimes “smaller” issues are decided with hardly any discussion at all. Will that happen at GC this year?

One common thread I’m seeing in many comments and missives I’ve received is that we don’t need “change for the sake of change.” While I believe any change we undertake should be carefully considered, I can’t help but wonder if some “change for the sake of change” isn’t exactly what we need right now. Sometimes the only way to get off the dime is to shake things up, get some people riled up and thinking, inspire some passion both positive and negative. I wonder whether we’re too polite with each other, too worried about divisions within the church, too worried about “failure,” however that’s defined. I would posit that debating an issue for 40 years without really moving the needle is a greater failure than the result of any change we might make.

Thanks for all the prayers for our delegation. I pray God will bless all of our listening, thinking and talking.

David Armstrong
David Armstrong is the Southern District Lay Leader and delegate to the Western Jurisdictional Conference. He will be attending General Conference as a reserve delegate and observer. David lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho.