"Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit."
Birth of Jesus
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly. 20 As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “ Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. ” 22 Now all of this took place so that what the Lord had spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled:
( Emmanuel means “ God with us. ” )
24 When Joseph woke up, he did just as an angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he didn’t have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. Joseph called him Jesus.
The lifeblood of the United Methodist is passion rather than organizational neatness, entrepreneurial freedom rather than denominational restraint, and agility rather than staid institutional dependence. But if United Methodists want to change and be the church we say we want to be, what must we risk and how can we challenge current practices?
At the heart of becoming a spiritual movement once again is the requirement that we develop a new understanding of connection as Christians and as United Methodists. We are currently at a time in which United Methodists are reinventing denominational connectionalism. One way of framing the issue is to distinguish between members and disciples, or consumers (those who wait for the institution to care for their needs) and citizens (those who are willing to commit themselves to and be held accountable for the whole of the community).
United Methodism has nurtured generations of leaders and congregations that see themselves as consumers of the resources and attention of the denomination. The impulse toward movement is challenging spiritually purposeful leaders and congregations to risk becoming citizens who fully expect to make a difference in the lives of individuals and also in the world through an encounter with Christ.