Monday, December 16, 2013

The Rev Mike Slaughter: Why I am United Methodist

When I was asked by the United Methodist Church to write a blog about why I choose to be United Methodist, I decided there are two influential drivers. First, it is an inheritance from my parents. My dad was raised Roman Catholic; my mom was from a Southern Baptist tradition. My birth convicted them to return to church but left them with the dilemma of "which church?" The neighborhood United Methodist congregation fit the bill. Part of our Methodist DNA is to see all Christians, everyone connected to Christ, as equal. That's why we have an open communion table and don't practice re-baptism. My boyhood church provided a safe place for both my Catholic dad and Baptist mom to experience acceptance and inclusion. This inclusiveness and our United Methodist emphasis on Holy Conferencing make us stronger as a faith movement. We embrace the Christ worthiness of all who come to the table, no matter how much we may disagree politically or theologically on the nonessentials.

Of course, as an adult, I could have easily shrugged off my spiritual inheritance. But, our United Methodist theological underpinnings keep me firmly committed.  Over a two-year period in my late teens, I had a radical new birth experience with Jesus Christ that transformed my life completely. It continues to shape who I am, what I do and how I believe almost 45 years later. The Trinitarian faith I learned about as a boy that proclaimed I could experience a deep and personal revelation of God through Jesus Christ laid the groundwork for all that I have become as a husband, father and pastor.

I am also completely sold out to our United Methodist emphasis on social holiness, the belief that we have power with God through our actions toward other people. I am grateful for our connectionalism and for the opportunities Ginghamsburg has had to work with our general boards and agencies to advance God’s mission. We have partnered with United Methodist Communications on annual Change the World weekends, challenging 11 million Methodists worldwide to take the church into the world, renewing, restoring and rebuilding communities. Our partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief within The General Board of Global Ministry (GBGM) has resulted in a $6.1 million investment for our sisters and brothers in Sudan and South Sudan to create new life pictures, job training, education, healing and hope. The child development and protection program alone has impacted over 30,000 children. We are now partnering with GBGM and our West Ohio Conference to help eliminate death from malaria in our lifetimes through Imagine No Malaria.

Especially this time of year as we remember that Christmas is not our birthday, I am honored to be part of this United Methodist faith movement –a people and a church that actively demonstrate Jesus’ authority over our lives by daily living out the sacrificial love of Christ toward the least and the lost.




Mike Slaughter is lead pastor and dreamer of GinghamsburgChurch. He represented the West Ohio Conference as lead delegate of the 2012 General Conference. His life-long passion is to reach the lost & set oppressed free; he is a tireless advocate for the displaced people of Darfur, Sudan.