United Methodist congregations can face potentially difficult discussions about plans submitted by the Commission on a Way Forward by using resources available from the Courageous Conversations project at Discipleship Ministries.
The commission’s three plans, which will be presented to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference, offer ways to move the denomination past its decades-long struggle with issues around LGBTQ.
The goal of Courageous Conversations is learning through questioning one's own assumptions and others' assumptions, while having careful and structured dialog. Many congregants hesitate to engage in difficult conversations because they are fearful of causing further harm to relationships or they believe the discussions are pointless because they will not result in changed opinions.
A sample outline for how to plan and conduct a Courageous Conversation about the Way Forward proposals is available online here. The outline includes four sessions, with PowerPoint© presentation templates, but allows for flexibility to meet a specific congregation's needs.
An online pamphlet, How to Have a Courageous Conversation, is available here.
The special called General Conference, set for Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis, will consider three plans proposed by the Way Forward Commission that offer a way for the denomination to stay together and ways to split. (More information about the plans is available here.)
Courageous Conversation outlines are available from Discipleship Ministries on other topics, including Gun Violence, Race, Immigration, Climate Change and Human Sexuality.
For more information about Courageous Conversations, including tools for leaders, sample outlines, sample guidelines, webinars, prayer guide and blog, visit the Discipleship Ministries website.
The Council of Bishops is offering a video outlining the One Church Plan as a resource for annual conferences as they prepare for the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. The video may be shown at annual conference sessions or be used in discussions.
The 93-page document provided by the Commission on a Way Forward specifically addresses the three plans agreed upon by the Council of Bishops to be offered to the special session of General Conference. Within the One Church, Connectional Conference and Traditional plans is a list of potential impacts on various interconnected parts of The United Methodist Church, such as the local church, related agencies, annual conferences and more.
The Commission on a Way Forward also provided a summary of Biblical and theological foundations for each of the three plans. Read a summary of the Biblical and theological basis for each plan. See the entire Commission on a Way Forward report for each of the full foundations for each plan.