The Christian Atheist

The Christian Atheist, by recovering Christian Atheist Craig Groeschel, is an honest, hard-hitting and eye-opening look into the ways people believe in God but live as if he doesn’t exist.


Craig Groeschel

Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of Life Church, a pace-setting multi-campus church, with over eighty weekly worship experiences in fourteen locations, including an online campus.

Posted by on 22 Feb 2010

A leader from the United Methodist Church asked me if I’d write a few suggestions for the denomination. I was very honored by his request and thought I’d share a few thoughts.

My family attended various Methodist Churches in Texas and Oklahoma. I did my undergraduate work at Oklahoma City University (a UMC school). After graduating from college, I entered ministry as an associate pastor of First United Methodist Church in downtown Oklahoma City.

Amy and I planned on serving God in the Methodist Church for our full ministry. After experiencing other styles of ministry, God gave us a vision to do church in a different way. We asked for permission to plant a new UMC church. Since I was only ordained as a “deacon” and not an “elder,” church planting, for us, was not an option as a UMC pastor.

Our burden to start a church became greater than our loyalty to a denomination. We left the UMC on good terms with fond memories and many great relationships.

This week, I’ll post six suggestions for my UMC friends. I offer them humbly and in love. I hope one or two ideas are helpful.

Let’s start with the use of Financial Resources. Not long ago, the UMC launched a $20 million advertising campaign called “Rethink Church.” While I wholeheartedly applaud the church’s aggressive efforts to reach people, I don’t think advertisements that promote a denomination are the best plan.

Today’s generation wants to join a cause, not an organization. I would have suggested investing $20,000 each into 1,000 UMC church plants across the United States. Starting new churches is easier than revitalizing old churches. Once a new movement begins, revitalizing the old becomes much more doable.

My thought on this: People are more likely to join a new mission rather than an old denomination.

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