The Call to Action - Interim Operations Team (IOT) has issued a final report with recommendations to The United Methodist Church to continue work across the denomination on increasing the number of vital United Methodist congregations. They express an urgent need for UM leaders to make bold, systemic changes toward a more sustainable future.
"Business as usual is unsustainable. Dramatically different and new behaviors, not incremental changes, are required," the IOT states in the report. "We have not yet seen the degree of shared sense of urgency or commitment to systemic adaptations with the redirection of leadership expectations and sufficient resources that our situation requires."
The IOT urges continued focus on the adaptive challenge embraced by the Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table calling for an increase in the number of vital congregations. To this end, the report offers specific suggestions on how to meet this challenge and ways to reorder the life of the UMC.
"What matters is that we have clarity in giving focus to shifting resources to increase the number of vital congregations, urgency in paying attention to measurable results, and intentionality in the development and recruitment of young people for leadership along with support and evaluation of all leaders based on very high expectations for fruitfulness. What matters is that we sustain an unrelenting emphasis on integration and alignment of work to replace the current celebration of diffused activities and self-interested independence that are rampant across the UMC," the IOT states in the report.
Named by the Council of Bishops (COB) and the Connectional Table (CT) in late 2010, the IOT was asked to identify issues and to develop a plan based on successful approaches used in other organizations that could be adapted and reapplied to the church. The aim was to identify strategies that would lead to significantly improved results in creating and sustaining more vital congregations.