On January 11th, 2023 the Global Methodist Church announced that “United Methodist Bishop Scott Jameson Jones, the former leader of the UM Church’s Great Plains and Houston Episcopal Areas, has resigned from the episcopacy of the church and withdrawn from the denomination. Jones was received into the Global Methodist Church as an elder on January 9, 2023.”

The article went on to say that Bishop Jones has been appointed a bishop in the Global Methodist Church. This is the second bishop to move from the United Methodist Church to the Global Methodist Church this year.

Bishop Jones is recognized as a renowned Wesleyan scholar. I’ve taught his study, The Wesleyan Way, in churches I have served. In seminary I read his book on United Methodist doctrine.

What makes this move significant is the work Bishop Jones did as a United Methodist Bishop. Bishop Jones had positioned himself as someone who wanted to hold the extreme center position theologically.. In his book on United Methodist doctrine the title is United Methodist Doctrine: The Extreme Center

In United Methodist Doctrine: The Extreme Center he says, “At its best, United Methodist doctrine holds together a number of concerns in dynamic and mutually reinforcing tension. On the theological spectrum Wesley occupies the extreme center, and his approach has shaped the church’s doctrine” (19).

Bishop Jones also has leaned into this centrist branding on his website called extremecenter.com.

Finally, Bishop Jones expanded his ideas in a book of essays called Stay at the Table where he dialogues with other Methodist thinkers.

Yet, Bishop Jones has made the decision to leave the United Methodist Church and join the Global Methodist Church. By moving he is demonstrating how his views align better in the Global Methodist Church. This more than any person moving. This is the extreme center poster child himself moving out.

Bishop Jones said recently “The Global Methodist Church represents traditional Methodism with a strong focus on reaching new people for the gospel… It is a new start that will help clergy and congregations move past the disputes of the last several years and focus on our mission. I am excited about forming disciples who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.”

Bishop Jones has been gracious about his time in the UMC which I believe is the right tract to take. I am grateful he is bringing his strong leadership, deep doctrinal standards, and episcopal oversight to the Global Methodist Church.


David Wesley Donnan is a Methodist pastor in South Georgia.

You can read more from David about the Future of Methodism HERE.

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Christmas Message 2022

December 24, 2022

Here is video of the sermon from Christmas Eve on Sunday, December 24th, 2022 at Glennville Methodist Church. Full Manuscript text is below the video.

Here is the text of my sermon manuscript for Christmas Eve worship services on Saturday, December 24th, 2022 at Glennville Methodist Church. Early children had read the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-20.

What would you do if you accidentally became Santa Claus? If you have to deliver all the presents around the world? That is the scenario that was in the Tim Allen family comedy The Santa Claus. It is fascinating because he becomes Santa Claus because he accidentally startles the current Santa on the roof calling him to fall to Santa’s demise and now according to the rules Tim Allen’s character must now become the new Santa Claus. And in the journey Tim Allen’s character learns a little about being a better dad and we all learn a little about Christmas.

The Santa Claus cinematic universe set up an interesting scenario. If you are beside Santa Claus when he meets his end you have to become the next Santa Claus. What if the next person was someone who does not celebrate Christmas. What if it’s a child? What if it’s someone who just escaped prison and they were serving a life time sentence? These are all scenarios that are possible in this universe. It is such a bizarre scenario that this year Disney plus released a limited series with some of the original cast and they tried to retcon, change the original story, to make it sound like just anyone can not become a Santa Claus by accident.

Friends, here is the good news for Christmas. There are no mistakes with God. You are not some accident that magically falls into earth. No, God has made you for this very moment. He has made you with purpose.

One of the interesting stories I read early on in my tenure here in Glennville was about how we had appealed our census data here. During the disruption of the pandemic it seemed hundreds of residents in the Smith prison were not accounted for which would affect our federal funding and more in our community.

Everyone counts to God. Christmas is the reminder of this. No one is created on accident and everyone counts to God. 

Now this is pretty important especially on a day like today. I know this has been a pretty challenging year for some in our community. For my family we were blessed to celebrate Brand’y mom’s 60th birthday only to have her die suddenly a few short weeks later. 

Grief is a hard thing to deal with. It is also a strange thing to deal with. There are moments when we feel like Sandra may walk right in. There are moments like at Lydia’s Christmas dance recital where we are used to seeing Sandra go and stand down front elbowing others out of the way, standing in the aisle to get the video on her phone, even though we knew she heard the announcement not to do that.

In the same way we have had grief in our family this past year we also know the world continues to grieve. Thousands of Russians were conscripted to go fight the so-called “special military operation” or war in Ukraine. Ukrainians have limited power, water, and resources to stay warm in the dead of winter and we know American families who have had loved ones deployed as part of a surge of troops to serve as deterrence for Russian advancing further. 

It is in the midst of our broken world, in the midst of our own lives, that we need to hear the Christmas message this year. We need to hear that we are not here by accident and that we matter to God and the life of Jesus proves this.

Consider the broken world that Jesus was born into. We would expect for a king or the son of a king to be born in a palace in a safe and secure area. Yet, Jesus is born into a barn. We’ve talked about Herod the past few Sundays. He was the ruler over the area Jesus is born into. He had a palace, the Herodium, where he would be able to look over the town of Bethlehem. So we have this juxtaposition of earthly power, political skills, military might with Jesus, humble, lowly surroundings, no leaders coming out celebrate his birth but stinky shepherds… and not even the day shift, the B-team, the night crew.

Jesus came into the broken world for you and for me. We are not an accident and Jesus came for each one of us.

He came so that we can learn from Christ’s teachings but ultimately he came to save us. We matter to God because Jesus comes to help us with the one thing we can never do and that is to save ourselves. DA Carson has this quote about Jesus. He says:

If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior.

This means tonight you can accept the greatest gift off all, salvation from Jesus. It means you do not have to try harder this upcoming year but instead be more open to God’s leading. And it starts by asking to receive Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and making Christ the Lord over your entire life.

It also means we do not have to worry about accidentally becoming Santa Claus. We do not have to worry if we are accidents. That we can live lives with purpose. Even if we have had an incredibly tough year.

There was a New York state trooper who was dispatched for a 911 call during a storm. A motorist was in a car that went into a ditch and the snow plow came by and completely buried the car. The man had poor reception and called 911 several times but kept getting disconnected.

They were able to track him down to a several mile area but the trooper just had to keep looking through piles of snow to try to find the car.

After 10 hours the motorist was rescued by the trooper and it was just in the nick of time. You see the motorist car shut off from being buried in snow. The man was not able to get out and got so cold that his body quit shivering. 

This is very dangerous because it means your body is starting to shut down. Thankfully the trooper got him in the police car and warmed him up until they could connect to EMS.

Friends, I know this has been a tough year. But do not give up. You may feel like you are an accident, struggling with grief, doubt, loneliness or buried in snow. But do not give up. We have good news.

As Christians, even if we do not feel it in our hearts at times, we can say it with integrity, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Merry Christmas!

This Sunday will be my first Sunday as an elder in the Global Methodist Church. My church will also be celebrating their first Sunday in the Global Methodist Church. This is an unofficial order I made for the occasion. At the conclusion of our service we will read through a Litany of New Beginnings/Renewal of Baptism and Membership by Rev. Dr. Tesia Mallory.

Friends and Family of ___________ Church, today we are happy to recognize that our pastor, ____________, has been appointed by the Global Methodist church to serve as our pastor.

_________ , you have been sent to live in our community as a shepherd for God’s Kingdom to help us hear the voice of God through the scriptures, our church tradition, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

As our pastor you are “responsible for ensuring that members are cared for by implementing a discipleship process focused on helping members to “go on to perfection” by loving God with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength, and by loving their neighbor as themselves. [You] are charged with equipping all the members of a congregation to be in ministry by meeting people at their point of need and offering them Jesus.”1

Pastor __________, do you reaffirm your commitment to ministry to follow God and lead the _______________ Church?

Pastor: Today, I affirm my commitment to serve ____________ Church by God’s grace and to the best of my ability.

Church, do you affirm your commitment to support Pastor _________ as he/she guides us, by God’s grace, “to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.”2

If you do say we will.

Congregation: We will.

Church, today we are also happy to announce that Pastor _________ has been recognized as an elder in full connection with the Global Methodist Church.

“Elders are clergy members in full connection of the annual conference with full voice and vote on all matters.”3 

“Elders are ordained to oversee the Sacramental life of the church and thus have full authority to preside at celebrations of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.”4

“Those called to the ministry of elder bear authority and responsibility to proclaim God’s Word fearlessly, to teach God’s people faithfully, to administer the sacraments, and to order the life of the church so that it may be both faithful and fruitful.”5

__________ , we thank you for submitting your life to this calling in the Global Methodist Church. 

Church, we are going to ask pastor __________ to kneel at the altar and we ask those who wish to come forward, lay hands on _________ , and pray with us.

Father of grace, power, and calling, we thank you for all of the servant leaders we have had at Glen_____________ and the calling you have on his/her life.

God, would you pour out your blessing on him/her, Father, so that he/she may preach the good news to all people. Would you sustain him/her in the process of ministering to those in our community. Would you protect him/her, guide him/her, and lead him/her into a deeper relationship with you. May all of his/her ministry be an overflow of his/her ever deepening relationship with you. May we, as his community, support, encourage, correct, and guide him/her by your grace also, in Jesus name, Amen.

***

This document in Microsoft Word or PDF version

1 The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline paragraph 322 p. 29 (Ephesians 4:11-13).

2The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline preface page 2

3The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline paragraph 410 page 57

4The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline paragraph 313 page 26

5The Transitional Book of Doctrine and Discipline Paragraph 403 page 51