Leading United Methodists to a Faithful Future

Posted: July 27, 2014 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

“A Gathering of Spirits,” by Jan Richardson (@janlrichardson)

In 1997, I was a senior in college at Florida State University.  I had been excited to hear that the president of Asbury Theological Seminary, of which my pastor was a graduate, was coming to give a series of messages over the weekend at our church, Killearn United Methodist, in Tallahassee, FL.  At that time, the president at Asbury was Dr. Maxie Dunnam.

Our whole college group, several of whom would eventually go on to work in a variety of roles in churches and other ministries–including some who would eventually go to Asbury and become pastors, eagerly filed in for the Friday night session.  It was an inspiring night for all of us, and we looked forward to more throughout the weekend.  Saturday morning was even better.

However, on Saturday afternoon, our lives changed.   Read the rest of this entry »

Ministry Musings: Toxic Leadership

Posted: July 24, 2014 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

Originally posted on Oboedire:

Like many others, I have grown increasingly concerned about the neo-fundamentalism that is dominating and caricaturing too much Christianity these days. It is a theology and resultant mindset that is antithetical to the Gospel and destructive to the Christian witness in the world.

 In recent days, Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and the ministry of Mark Driscoll, its senior pastor, has resurfaced as an Exhibit A for this kind of deformative Christianity. The church and Driscoll’s ministry are collapsing under the weight of narcissism, bad theology, and manipulative tactics. A website has been created to more-fully describe and document the abuse and sadness that the Mars Hill situation has created: http://www.joyfulexiles.com.

A revealing document on the website is written by Jonna Petry, the wife of one of the fired associate ministers. Written in 2012, My Story, was her attempt to bring freedom and new life into an otherwise…

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Amicable Encounters Episode III: The Candidate

Posted: June 25, 2014 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

By Matt Horaninterview1

Eric’s fingers were cramping.  He was typing the second paper of the day, and estimated that he’d been typing for about five hours total.  He loved being in seminary–the learning, the professors, the friends he’d made, the theological discussions–it had been great.  If it wasn’t for all of the reading and writing, it would have been perfect.  To top it all off, as a reward for finishing seminary, he would get to then write his paperwork for commissioning.  He was a certified candidate from the Louisiana Annual Conference, on the track to become an elder.

The phone rang as he began page four.  He picked it up, and was surprised to hear the voice of the staff-parish relations chairperson, Elizabeth Wyatt, from his home church in Baton Rouge.  “Hello Eric!  How are things in seminary?”

They chit-chatted for a few minutes, and Elizabeth gushed about how proud the whole church was of him.  He was their first ever certified candidate for ministry, and every visit home made him feel like a conquering hero.

“Well, Eric, let me tell you the reason for my call.”  Elizabeth got down to business, “You and I have talked a few times about the  homosexuality issue, and I’ve always thought that you and I are pretty much on the same page.  Would you agree?” Read the rest of this entry »

Amicable Encounters Episode 2: Get Out The Vote

Posted: June 14, 2014 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

By Matt HoranVote

Rebecca was pacing back and forth in front of the living room window.  Her daughter and new grandson had just landed at the airport and were due to walk in her front door in about 45 minutes.  She’d been waiting for weeks, and could hardly stand to wait another minute.  She kept looking out the window in hopes of seeing them, though she knew that even if they’d had a police escort through every stoplight driving 80 miles per hour the whole way they still wouldn’t be there yet.

She decided to go and double check and make sure that the “Pack-n-Play” she’d gotten was ready.  She’d put it up two days ago and had checked it about a half-dozen times, but once more couldn’t hurt.  She began to reconsider the positioning of the stuffed animals she had sitting on top of the dresser to welcome him to grandma’s house when the doorbell rang.  She normally told people that she “didn’t move like she used to,” but she was suddenly moving like she never had before towards her front door.  She pulled the door open smiling widely, her arms already feeling the ache of needing to hug her daughter and hold her grandbaby.

“Disappointment” didn’t do justice to what she felt when she looked out and saw a familiar couple standing on her front porch.  She knew them from somewhere, but more than anything, she knew that they weren’t her daughter and grandson. Read the rest of this entry »