Our Decision for St. Andrew
by Kathy King & Rev. Arthur Jones

First, I want to begin with how many remarkable things are happening at our church. I have seen our passion for serving Christ come to life in so many ways. We kicked off the season with numerous welcoming events during the month of August. Our summer was full of children and teens who were soaking in the Texas sunshine while participating in many life-changing and fun events. In the next few weeks, you will see the steel rise up from the ground for the Hasley Chapel and we just had the first social event for the Second Act ministry with 270 people at the first gathering.

The time has been bittersweet, of course. We lost our friend and founding pastor, Robert Hasley, this summer after 36 years of dedication to St. Andrew. I know every day he is looking down on this church ... watching over us ... proud of the things our community is doing. St. Andrew is vibrant and strong and yet, even with 36 years behind us ... we’ve only just begun. We have the ability and passion to impact so many more lives as we look toward our future.

As we remain focused on our mission to create passionate servants for Christ, we gathered today for an informational session about a process Robert began several years ago when he asked a group of lay leaders to monitor the inevitable fragmenting of the United Methodist Church (UMC) in order to ultimately help shepherd the church to a decision when the moment arose. That time has now come, and this letter will hopefully help answer any questions.

First and foremost, St. Andrew will remain St. Andrew and while you will read about some organizational changes below, our church will be the same church it is today ... a Methodist church that is Biblically-based, Christ-centered, and Grace-filled. Our programs, our services and our people will not change.

St. Andrew’s Leadership concluded an extensive process this last week and voted to move forward with the following:

  1. St. Andrew will disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church (UMC), but not affiliate with any other existing Methodist denomination. St. Andrew will remain Methodist with the same Wesleyan theology that we have always believed. We will stay focused on our mission as a Methodist church to create passionate disciples of Jesus Christ and remain Biblically-based, Christ-centered, and Grace-filled.
  2. St. Andrew will be named St. Andrew Methodist and operate over a period as an independent Methodist church while seeking partnerships and accountability with other like-hearted churches. We will be looking to create affiliations with those who also desire greater accountability with more efficient systems and structures than we have had with the UMC. We do not desire long term independence. Instead, we want to take the time to fully explore the right affiliations to ensure our church can remain mission focused and step into the future.

Q: What is the issue with the UMC as our current broader denomination?
A: Everyone involved has a deep love for the denomination that birthed us, but the fractures and flaws of the institution are too deep to ignore. What you may have read in the media or heard does not fully paint the picture of the complexities of the question and our resulting decision. One of the key pieces of education in this process was understanding that UMC is just one of 80 Methodist denominations that are part of the World Methodist Council. It’s important to contrast that the UMC has only been in existence since 1968 but Methodism dates to the 1700s with a variety of realignments within Methodist denominations over that time.
The historical Methodist theology and our focus on Jesus is what we aim to protect. The complexity of the debate involves how the denomination is organized, funded, and what systems and structures it uses to operate. In 2022, due to complex rules, some legal and some that the UMC has created, at least 500 churches just in the state of Texas (including 4 of the 6 largest in Texas, for reference we are #7) have either completed the process or will soon complete the process to disaffiliate from the UMC. Bluntly, the basic structure of the UMC will be even more labored after these disaffiliations, and we expect the number to grow. So, while we have been prayerfully studying this for years, the time has come for St. Andrew to decide its own path.

Q: What was the best format to make any decision about disaffiliation and our future affiliation?
A: St. Andrew is strong – with wonderful leaders and representatives from area businesses, schools, non-profits and many other organizations. These trusted and time-tested leaders serve on the committees that govern our church. The Trustee Committee (property), Staff Parish Committee (pastors and staff), and Finance Committee (finances) all work together to provide research and thoughtful recommendations to the Executive Committee which has the ultimate responsibility to make decisions for the church.
Given the complexity of the research and challenges, it was decided that in the best interest of our congregation, the Executive Committee would ultimately make the decision of our future denominational affiliation. This decision was based on in-depth research projects across the various committees and a careful review of hundreds of hours of work. The Executive Committee is a group of dedicated parishioners who are committed to our mission of being Biblically-based, Christ-centered and Grace-filled. More importantly, it is a group that brings church histories, present day perspectives, and theological discipleship to this conversation. The committee is an accurate representation of our congregation with a vision for our future. Considering the research and study of this matter, we believed our congregation, from the youngest child to the oldest member, would benefit from a thoughtful process that did not involve members in layers of bureaucracy and fact-finding; but instead, a decision that everyone could rely on to carry St. Andrew into the future.

Q: What risks were found for our church within the existing systems and structure of affiliation with the UMC?
A: There was a historical and recent look at the UMC involving our finances, our property, and our pastors. The conclusions were clear, but the facts are complicated. The UMC has offered many services during the decades of our affiliation. However, as one of the largest churches in the system, we realized how independent we are, already providing many of our own services. The fact is, we can protect our finances, our property and our pastors by going in a new direction.
It is also important to note, our lay leaders watched a video sworn statement about this very decision, which Robert recorded after weeks of prayer in May of this year. Robert shares his view that disaffiliation was necessary; and for St. Andrew to remain the leader it has always been, we should carve a new path toward the future. All our pastors have strong ties with the UMC and yet, they all agree that this decision better provides for the future of St. Andrew to accomplish our mission.

We were able to share more in the informational session and understand many of you reading this for the first time may have additional questions. We have a few ways to help you answer those to ensure everyone is clear and confident about our future.

  • You can submit a question or comment by clicking here. You can also request a follow-up conversation with one of our pastors. This email will be monitored and responded to within 24 hours.
  • Our pastors will be available before and after services for the next few weeks. While there may not be time at that moment for an in-depth conversation, please find one and ask for a follow-up call and they will make sure it happens.

In closing, St. Andrew will remain St. Andrew and as always in October our calendar is full. You are invited to continue our study of Paul every week through November in services. Plus, we have so many exciting things planned for the community starting with our Trunk or Treat in a few weeks and a very exciting Christmas season planned (to check out the brochure handed out today in services for a save the date for all the Christmas events click here). Nothing will change for the church you know day to day, except we are better positioned to continue our mission of creating passionate disciples for Jesus Christ.

We look forward to seeing you at church next week. To steal a line from our founding pastor that is so true in this and every moment when we trust in the Lord, “Everything is gonna be alright.”

In Christ,
Arthur Jones, Senior Pastor
Kathy King, Executive Committee Chair