Petition 81528

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Proposed Study (81528-GA-NonDis-$)

    The General Conference directs the Connectional Table to conduct a study seeking to identify possible factors within the creation of the United Methodist Church that may have set us down a path of consistent decline.  This study should include, but not be limited to,
    1.    Analysis of our structure for possible ways it may inadvertently have caused us to lose our effectiveness in serving God’s Kingdom.    
    2.    Analysis of cultural, philosophical and theological shifts that may have caused us to lose important aspects that enabled Methodism in the past to be such a vital movement for making disciples of Jesus Christ.  
3.    Analysis of our Wesleyan heritage to identify neglected aspects that may have negatively impacted the UMC and prevented us from continuing the tradition of growth experienced in American Methodism for the first 170 years.
4.    Analysis of the works of those who have already addressed the issue of our decline through published books and articles.
      
  In light of our great need to reverse such decline as well as the great difficulty involved in such a soul-searching task, the General Conference makes this a priority and shall utilize any resources at its disposal to help the Connectional Table facilitate this task.
The findings of this study shall be made available to each Annual Conference for discussion at the beginning of the third year of the 2009-2012 quadrennium, and those Conferences shall respond with insights, ideas, etc., to the Connectional Table by the beginning of the fourth year of the 2009-2012 quadrennium.
During the 2012 General Conference, the Connectional Table shall present its full report, along with any recommendations deemed beneficial to reversing the UMC’s consistent membership loss.

Rationale

United Methodists are all united in understanding the extent of our decline.  We are united in understanding that current factors, including our membership’s increasing average age, point to a future escalation of our decline.  We are all united in urgency to act now to reverse these trends.  In light of...