Friends, we are in the midst of conflict over the future of the Church. The reality is that 99.9% of our churches are also in conflict. I don't mean to say every church is in crisis. The amount of conflict is different in different places. In one place it could be a true crisis with a 50/50 split about staying or leaving in the denomination. In another it could be just one or two voices speaking in one direction - or even just our own internal conflicts over leaving a denomination we love or an impending end or change to relationships. Wherever the church you serve is, the reality is that conflict has arrived.
As peacemakers, our temptation is to avoid the conflict. We may do that by delaying conversation about it ("We'll talk about it after General Conference makes a decision"). We may deny it ("I think everyone in our church pretty much feels the same way.") We may relocated it ("The real problem is those other people.") None of those approaches demonstrate leadership. If we are going to lead our congregations it's time to have the talk. Delaying and denying the obvious serves no purpose.
I've had the talk in two churches - one after the 2019 General Conference and now a second after a July 1 appointment change. The first church is relatively young and a reconciling congregation. The second is an established "big steeple" church that is more theologically diverse. For what it's worth, here are some principles that have been helpful for me.