I noticed an interesting article on Church of God News by Robert Thiel about “LCG: No Merger with UCG, But…” obviously with UCG members leaving in such numbers, they wouldn’t turn them away at the door. He quotes Dr Robert C Meredith as saying:
Mr. Ames, Dr. Winnail and I and other ministers here in Charlotte were able to talk with a number of ministers from these other Church of God groups. Our visits were warm and friendly. However we did not discuss any type of merger! Considering the division, confusion and turmoil that exists in many of the Churches of God today, I hope that we can all reach out to our fellow ministers and brethren at this time.
I have to admit, this is the first I’ve heard of any rumors of a “merger” of any sort.
I, for one, appreciate the fact that LCG has in numerous ways asked for prayers for the brethren in UCG. I also appreciate it that Thiel has been somewhat restrained in his remarks during this crisis. In comparison, “The Pack Vulture Tries to Sell UCG Members Another Pack of Lies”.
A problem with many COGs is that members are largely viewed as “pay and pray” roles rather than being encouraged to think and act on their own, utilizing the talents God has given them. When people see a member of the COG, they should see Jesus, pure, plain and simple. We can either be candles placed under a bushel basket or lights that blind. The latter allows God to work in their lives, while the first tries to hide under some misguided notion that their faith is to never be shared. However, it takes a large enough paid ministry to train people to do this.
Perhaps you have heard that the COE wants a smaller paid ministry that would be over a larger unpaid ministry. If that isn’t what they are working towards, then that is certainly what they will get anyhow. That means fewer visits by a paid minister to a congregation. In some cases, a minister is only going to be able to visit their congregations about once every 2 months. Who is going to counsel people? Untrained and unpaid elders?
I don’t believe that scheme is workable. While lay people and unpaid elders need greater participation in events, I don’t see cutting the paid ministry is the way to do it. If anything, it means even less of addressing any real issues that may come up.
So, I found this quote from Thiel’s article interesting:
For we certainly need more dedicated members and ministers, and I pray that all of us will wholeheartedly welcome them with open arms if they sincerely and lovingly want to come with us.
Notice he said they need more members and ministers. It seems a shame that UCG seems willing to discard of both.
The UCG Winter Family Weekend will be over on the 28th. Many are anticipating more resignations and perhaps firings shortly afterwards. I would be very surprised if there aren’t many more before the end of January.