Emerging Methodism: An Interview with the Rev. Ole Birch

The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, Chief Connectional Ministries Officer for The Connectional Table, interviews Rev. Ole Birch, a member of The Connectional Table and a local pastor in Copenhagen, Denmark. They talk about the challenges of ministry during a pandemic; General Conference and regionalizing and contextualizing decisions; priorities guiding the church in the future; leadership qualities; and the amazing gospel choirs in Denmark.

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How has COVID-19 altered your community and ministry?

According to Rev. Birch, the pandemic has made us aware of how fragile we are, how important community and connection are, and challenged the church to use new ways of connecting and doing ministry online.

Why should the structure of the global United Methodist Church be more regionalized?

The further postponement of General Conference emphasizes the limitations — in terms of polity and geography — with the current centralized and U.S.-centric governing structure of The United Methodist Church, says the Rev. Birch. As pastor of a church in Denmark, he supports moving to a more regionalized structure so that decisions can be contextualized to each particular ministry setting.

What priorities should guide the church for the immediate future?

The Rev. Ole Birch of Denmark suggests that the church will need to focus on being creative, open, and willing to learn and evolve.

What kind of leadership does the church need for the future?

The Rev. Birch identifies two important attributes leaders need: a grounding in Wesleyan theology and an ability to recognize and tell the story of what God is doing and invite people to get involved.

Emerging Methodism Video Series Introduction

Wesley's historic questions were about what to teach, how to teach and what to do. For the next interval of features for the Connectional Table's Emerging Forum we will seek to update these questions for our current moment. We will invite energetic conversation that will illumine our identity which is tied to what and how we teach, our preferred actions, what we do and our abiding hopes as we envision the future United Methodist Church.

About Emerging: God Is Doing a New Thing in United Methodism

This video interview is part of a series created for "Emerging: God Is Doing a New Thing in United Methodism," which is an online forum created by the Connectional Table to engage United Methodists with a diversity of perspectives from across our worldwide connection in thinking deeply about what is emerging at this time in the life of our connection.