Non-Denominational vs. UMC

Here in Orange County, it seems like the young people who do go to church, the majority seem to attend a non-denominational church. It was like that in Hawaii also.
And I’m beginning to wonder why that may be.
I had an opportunity to talk to 2 pastors from Rock Harbor, a mega-non denominational church a couple of miles away from us. I also had a chance to talk to a couple of youth pastors from Calvary Chapel.

The two things that they had in common were emphasis on reading the Bible and praying.
From the UMC youth pastors I’ve met so far in the Orange County, majority of them put their emphasis in community service and fellowship.

For me, I think the non-denominational pastors I’ve talked to are making a valid point.
If we don’t, as a church, put emphasis on scripture, worship and prayer, how are we different from the local boys and girls club or the YMCA?

Last year, we had a UMC youth workers round table discussion. Someone asked, “what is this generation yearning for?” and many answered that the young people were looking ways to be involved in social justice.
That’s great! But I think many of us tend to make a fatal mistake: that loving neighbors will lead to loving God. It doesn’t often work that way. Loving God will lead to loving neighbor, but not the other way around. As Doug Fields writes “Faithfulness to the second [ greatest commandment] doesn’t necessarily lead to authenticity in the first.”

Maybe I am off-base.
What say you?

4 thoughts on “Non-Denominational vs. UMC

  1. Like the story i used before, Mary and Martha. Martha did all the stuff, and in the NIV it says the stuff that HAD to be done. But Jesus said that only one thing is needed and that “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” What did she choose? verse 39, She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
    Having a relationship is top priority, but if they say they love Christ then John 14:23 “Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.'” or in james 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. or james 2:26 (As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.)

    i can so go on about this topic but you probably wouldnt want to hear what a younger brother who became a bible quoting moron would have to say. lol

    but its about the beginning church in acts.
    devoted themselves to apostle’s teachings (the word which will lead to works) fellowship, breaking of the bread and prayyyyyyyyyyer. MY HOUSE WILL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYERS!!! i think that’s what the church should be.

    ok im done. out.

  2. “But I think many of us tend to make a fatal mistake: that loving neighbors will lead to loving God. It doesn’t often work that way. Loving God will lead to loving neighbor, but not the other way around.”

    Excellent point – couldn’t agree with you more. “Missional” efforts, whether seen as the objective or not, are merely the result of a healthy spiritual life. Loving God produces love of neightbor. It’s the symptom, not the cause of a mature faith. Good post!


  3. I wonder if the folks at that round table had any polling data to look at?

    Or were working with anecdotal evidence “I met some young people who were really into social justice one time, so (obviously) that must therefore be what they all want all the time…”

    Bishop Willimon had some stuff about this a while back on his blog – the number one reason people are interested in Church: they want to have an encounter with the living God. Churches that facilitate this encounter grow. Churches that do not die.

    Makes sense to me.

  4. not that you can legitimately speak against the validity of either, but i feel like so many churches focus on themselves that they do nothing in their communities. it’s more comfortable, and in this context, it’s biblical. in reality there is no ‘one thing is better to emphasize than the other’ here; churches feign piety by holding prayer meetings while their community starves in the streets. there needs to be a balance, but i think without explicitly emphasizing the service aspect of it, it’s so easy (and more comfortable) to stay inside church walls.

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