Crowdsourcing the New Thing

There are many ways to solve a problem; and many ways to dream a new thing into being. Typically, problems are solved by a few “experts” who determine the best solution and then train the wider group on new practices. But there is another way to solve problems: crowd (open) sourcing.

Crowd sourcing is an idea that involves taking problems out to the wider context (even beyond one’s company or corporation) so that many people can add input, and so that creativity and innovation can take a wide swath of possibilities.

We have been closed-sourcing the current state of The United Methodist Church. Before and after the Judicial Council ruling on General Conference 2019, small groups of people have been meeting in closed settings to begin to find solutions. Meanwhile, a wide berth of people are waiting to hear the results that seemed shrouded in the unknown.

But there are other ways to move forward. We can crowd source the possibility of a new church. To crowd source is to till a rich soil for thousands of seeds to be thrown into the wind as they seek the soft, brown earth. It creates a garden of possibility for our future. Who said the “experts” can figure this out better than the movement of the Spirit?

The beginning of the Methodist Movement happened because a ground-swell of people joined a new idea of grace, caring for the poor, and being methodical about spiritual growth. It was a movement that could not be stopped and was propelled by an Unknown Force.

So what if we begin a platform of small meetings, large gatherings, and video conference conversations for the whole world to join? In this way, we could see how the Spirit is moving us collectively, and not only focus on ways the delegations strategize to change the minds of GC2020. The work of the delegations is important, but it is a very small part of the solution.

Instead we need to be collectively dreaming the new church into existence. This is the time to be outwardly curious, and not inward-focused. Obviously we are no longer “United” Methodists. But what does this new movement of the Spirit and of the hearts of Methodists look like? Will you dream out loud with us? The invitation is open to all: much like Communion.


  1. Count us in! The six Austin, Texas, Reconciling churches (Trinity, University UMC, First UMC, St. Luke UMC, St. John’s UMC, Westlake UMC), nearby Wellspring UMC (Georgetown, TX), Journey of Faith (Round Rock, TX), & friends Oak Hill UMC, Pflugerville (TX) UMC, & Northwest Hills UMC; meeting together, & represented by laity & clergy, were inspired by your post. This was the largest part of our recent meeting. We asked the question, what does the church that you dream of look like? Here are some of our answers (in no particular order):

    Followers of Jesus, in & out of church
    ordain LGBTQ folx
    same gender weddings at our churches
    that we’re teaching our children the inclusiveness of God’s love
    incorporating sexuality training
    progressive youth camps
    intersectional diversity
    help marginalized people locally & globally
    streamline the church – streamline the Book of Discipline
    simplify the hierarchy
    looser connection, but still connected
    church & not politics
    everyone should feel equal
    a church that practices true holy conferencing
    promote evangelism, without hell or shame-based
    understanding of privilege, systems of oppression, & colonialism
    expanded role for laity
    be a school/studio of empathy & love (both churches & agencies)
    yes the Wesleyan quadrilateral
    politics outside the church door
    through all of this we see God flowing
    take it outside the church building – mission
    property ownership – yes (some said)
    ALL means all, no exceptions, no asterisks
    clergy is taken care of (practical)
    champion mental health services
    as transition: for churches who have wealth, help those churches that don’t
    more equality across congregations, equalize the budgets
    share resources
    empower the laity – missions, small things, more ways to serve
    connect the people in real life
    sustainable witness to care for the environment
    working for gender equality


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