It is common in the church for both clergy and lay to constantly be on the look out for resources to help teach or preach or communicate.
This pursuit of resources is generally thought of as a good thing. As a denomination that has thousands of local churches, it makes sense to use something that another church has created. It is good stewardship and it builds up the connection between the different UMC congregations. Indeed.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel when we don't have to.
But I would submit that we are so busy looking for resources and models and help and programs and ideas from other UMC sources that we are relying on a few voices even within the thousands of churches in the denomination.
I love Bishop Schnase.
I love Adam Hamilton.
I love Mike Slaughter.
These are all great resources and voices, however when we are busy using their stuff we are not busy creating our own stuff.
What is the problem with not creating your own stuff?
Not to state the obvious but - Ownership.
When we create something we are much more invested in it. We are more apt to protect and advocate for our creation. Our creations become infused with us to the point that the creation has a bit of the creator contained within it.
Even if we are reinventing the wheel, the wheel we invent will be much more dear to our heart and authentic to who we are than a more refined wheel we would by from the store.
Could part of our lack of authenticity as a denomination be rooted in the practice of seeking out material and resources that are not our voices but someone whom we would want to sound like? Isn't that the definition of inauthentic?
To my clergy friends and peers and to all the laity of the UMC I ask you all to consider reinventing the wheel in order to have a greater investment in the inventions God is calling you to create.