Texas megachurch considers future with UMC

Friday, July 13, 2018
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

Methodist pro-LGBT pushAs the United Methodist Church (UMC) continues to push LGBT-friendly policies in spite of its biblical doctrine, a predominantly African-American megachurch in Texas is threatening to leave the left-leaning denomination.

With some 18,000 members, Windsor Village United Methodist Church of Houston appears to be fed up with the UMC’s ongoing debate over embracing homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” and other left-leaning agendas that fly in the face of God’s Word.

Seeking God’s wisdom: Should we stay or should we go?

Windsor Village Staff-Parish Relations Committee Chairman Floyd LeBlanc says his church is seeking God’s guidance through a series of slated church gatherings – including an all-night prayer event – to determine whether or not to permanently leave the UMC over the highly controversial matter.

"We are praying continually and corporately, [and] we are also fasting as a congregation once a week," LeBlanc told The Christian Post (CP) in an interview. "We have invited guest speakers to bless, prepare and sustain us during this time.”

The UMC leaders invited by the megachurch come from across the country and the world – so congregants can hear them weigh in on the hot-button issue.

“Bishop Tudor Bismark [from Africa] was with us recently and we look forward to a visit from Bishop Raphael Green [from Missouri]," LeBlanc added. "[The main issue is that] the denomination may not remain the same [after its internal debates, and] our focus must remain on Christ and winning souls for Christ."

But ultimately, the Texan church leader says the church is relying on the God’s direction before the UMC’s special General Conference to be held this coming February, when longstanding divisions over the church’s stance on homosexuality will be dealt with.

“We’re working through it,” LeBlanc informed, according the United Methodist News Service (UMNS). “We’re praying and seeking wisdom and discernment from God for His preferred path for this congregation.”

As tensions over the debate escalate, he says church leadership wants to shield the Houston congregation from undue stress, noting that the denominational struggle is more than a traditionalist versus progressive battle, while emphasizing that distractions over LGBT issues are keeping members from reaching the lost.

“The primary issue – from our perspective – is the turmoil that The United Methodist Church is undergoing,” LeBlanc explained to the UMNS. “It is evident to us that things will not be the same within the denomination on a going-forward basis.”

Pushing away Scripture, embracing the LGBT

LGBT activists within the UMC are pushing the denomination to revise its core beliefs based in Scripture to adhere to the social gospel of this day and age concerning homosexual behavior – which God calls detestable in His eyes throughout the Bible.

“Over the past several years, the UMC has been involved in increasingly intense debate over whether it should change its Book of Discipline, which says homosexuality is ‘incompatible with Christian teaching,’" CP’s Michael Gryboski noted. “Next February, the UMC will hold a special … session centered on whether to change their official positions or possibly reach a middle ground between conservatives and liberals.”

Meanwhile, LeBlanc made it clear that his church is not about setting itself apart as a conservative or liberal congregation, but rather as a team of “Kingdom Builders.”

"We remain committed to serving the Lord and helping people rise above the limitations of their current circumstances by sharing God's Word and spearheading the creation of educational and economic development resources within our community," LeBlanc explained to CP.

UMC Texas Conference Bishop Scott Jones, who heads the annual Houston-based conference, has jurisdiction over Windsor Village megachurch, and he is currently discussing the hot-button topic with the church’s lead pastor, Kirbyjon H. Caldwell.

"It is our desire for them to continue in ministry as a United Methodist Church where they can continue to be a powerful ministry influence in our denomination," Jones told CP, noting that he did not know of any other congregations in his conference intending on leaving the UMC. “[But if Windsor Village decides to leave the UMC, its church property] would belong to the conference.”

But Jones said that he hopes it does not come to that, as he apparently does not view God’s position on homosexuality in the Bible something that is worth defending.

“I’m very sad that they are raising this issue,” Jones expressed, according to UMNS. “I think it is premature for them to be talking about it. I am praying alongside of them, and my prayers are focused on them strengthening their ties to The United Methodist Church. They’ve been a powerful ministry partner for over 30 years in the Texas Conference and the city of Houston.”

UMC also missing the mark in Mississippi

Texas is not the only state where congregations have had enough of the UMC’s shift away from biblical teachings on homosexuality.

In March, the third Mississippi church in less than two years voted to leave the UMC denomination over its progressive stances on homosexuality, abortion and its teachings on Islam.

By a landslide vote of 175–6, the First United Methodist Church of Louisville decided to sever ties with the UMC on Palm Sunday, as announced by the Rev. Mike Childs, who noted that his church is now called the First Methodist Church of Louisville.

"While our church will no longer be a member of the United Methodist denomination, it will continue to be a Christ-centered church that is faithful to the Scriptures and the theology of (Methodism founder) John Wesley," Childs explained in March, according to USA Today. "It will forever be a Methodist church, but not a United Methodist church." 

Childs’ church was not the only one in Mississippi that holds its denomination accountable to the Word of God.

“The Louisville church – about 90 miles northeast of Jackson – isn't the first in Mississippi to leave the United Methodists,” USA Today’s Sarah Fowler recounted. “The Orchard in Tupelo, which has about 2,700 worshipers weekly and is the largest Methodist church in Mississippi, and Getwell Road United Methodist Church in the Memphis suburb of Southaven, which has about 800 worshipers weekly, voted in February 2017 to leave the Protestant denomination because of its ‘intensifying homosexuality debate …’”

In Mississippi, just like in Houston, the UMC retains a firm hold on church’s property – even after it leaves the denomination.

“Before The Orchard – about 160 miles northeast of Jackson, and Getwell Road could leave the United Methodist Church officially, the congregations had to negotiate with the church's Mississippi Conference, which legally owns the church buildings and land – even if a congregation's name is on the deed ...” Fowler noted.

But regardless of the property issues, leadership of the Mississippi churches felt that sticking up for the integrity of the Scriptures is of greater importance.

“The Orchard, which has no mention of its Methodist roots on its website, departed [in] May 2017,” Fowler informed.
“Getwell Road followed on June 4, changed its name to Getwell Church and now considers itself nondenominational.”

Ultimately, Childs’ church’s departure had everything to do with the UMC embracing the politically correct gospel on moral and societal issues – above and beyond biblical teachings.

“Several factors played into the Louisville church's decision to leave, Childs said, but congregants largely felt the denomination had strayed from the teachings of the Bible and the United Methodist Book of Discipline,” Fowler impressed.


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