‘When Everybody’s Feeding You Cheese,’ Resist the Temptation to Bite

Alfred WhiteAlfred White warns against controversies distracting us from the real work of the church


Football coach Bill Parcells used to say, “Sometimes when everybody’s feeding you the cheese, it’s hard not to eat it.”

Juxtapose this quote with 40-plus years of decline in the membership and engagement in Christian mainline denominations. For United Methodists, who seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, it’s easy these days to get caught up in the controversies facing our church rather than stay the course with our mission.

You probably know the issues challenging our leaders in The United Methodist Church. My suggestion: Don’t eat the cheese and don’t get mired in the current politics and worries of the church.

In this same electronic newsletter (this issue, past and future issues), there is plenty of good news to celebrate and be inspired by. If you need inspiration, there are multiple Bible verses to draw from. You can find nearly 50 verses to give you perspective on “persistence” as you help spread the word of Jesus Christ.

I hope you are planning to attend the North Texas Annual Conference, taking place June 4-6, 2017, at First UMC Richardson.

At the Laity Session on opening day, Joseph Bradley — youth minister, missionary and now the North Texas Conference director of camping and retreat ministries — will urge members to develop disciples through building significant relationships with the younger generation. We are excited to see where God will use Joseph in forming “A New Creation,” the conference’s theme.

As is the custom in the North Texas Conference, lay servant ministers and lay members to prior Annual Conferences who died in the past year will be remembered.

The Laity Session is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 4, at First UMC Plano, with dinner following at 5:15 p.m. Attendees must register online for the free Laity Session separately from the $10 dinner, which must be purchased in advance at ntc2017.org/meals.

There also will be a special toolbox session for lay leadership on Monday afternoon of Annual Conference. It will be a time of sharing best practices and resources and to brainstorm about ways to enhance the effectiveness of lay leadership in the local church. This is a great opportunity for the leaders in our churches to collaborate and provide input.

Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2017