Chuck Knows Church: Bureaucavangelism

Jason Micheli —  November 18, 2013 — 3 Comments

chuck_knows_church_JCRYTPLT-300x142Below is what I posted about Church Knows Church earlier this year.


Apparently, the powers that be in the UMC don’t read my blog because they’ve struck once again, serving up another quick “teaching” video.

What’s more important for people to hear and learn than the message of sin and grace, atonement, resurrection, hope or new creation?

That’s right, District Superintendents.

That’s like Five Guys doing a promo video that makes no mention of juicy burgers and fries but instead informs you that such-and-such a person works in a regional Five Guys office to make it all happen.

I’m sure such a person exists and is essential to Five Guys success, but my enjoyment of a Five Guys burger in no way depends on my knowledge of such a position.

Why would Chuck bother to teach people about their own particular vocation as given to them in baptism when Chuck could instead tell us about an incredibly specific vocation in the gears of the church?

‘District what?’ you will probably ask.

They’re administrative leaders in my particular denomination. God loves them and I love every one  with whom I’ve served, but why they rate as essential Christian (or even UMC) knowledge escapes me.

That the vast majority of folks in Methodist pews have no idea such a thing as a DS exists is probably what motivates this Church Knows Church episode.

That the bureaucracy of the Church thinks this lack of knowledge is bad- or even tragic-thing but explains why the Church, confusing evangelism for institutional preservation, is in decline.


I realize Chuck is intended to educate Methodists about our particular brand of Protestant Christianity in the hopes that they may then become more enthusiastic about the message and mission of the Church, but that’s to get the order of excitement exactly backwards.

If United Methodists were more (unabashedly) passionate about Christ we wouldn’t need videos meant to pep us up about the nuts and bolts of our denomination.

To paraphrase Paul: no Jesus, no Church.

Here’s the original post and here’s the latest video:


Jason Micheli


3 responses to Chuck Knows Church: Bureaucavangelism

  1. In the Mozambique and Cuban UMC conferences, where I have been on mission trips, the local DS works hard to find sister congregations in the US for each of his churches and to keep the bond strong and encourage mission trips from the US. Every Sunday, he or she travels to a church in the district and gives the sermon..The DS works proactively with the local pastors to identify young people to sponser to develop into ministers by sending to seminary on scholarship. The local churches actually get excited when the DS visits. It is a totally different dynamic.

  2. Thank you. I will never understand this sort of denominational “Team Spirit,” and I gotta say, it seems more alive in Methodism than in other corners of the church. Its like they really believe people will move to a new community and if their choices are Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian and Methodist, they won’t care about the quality of the preaching or the level of service, or the ministry to young people –they’re gonna go with the one with the District Superintendents.

  3. No Jesus. No Church. Absolutely, but there are more and more people who didn’t grow up in the church and don’t know its language. I am one of them. The church is full of jargon that people leaves a lot of people clueless, especially ones who maybe didn’t grow up in the church. And, lets face it, the United Methodist Church has its fair share of denomination specific jargon. I think that Chuck Knows Church does a great job of explaining things in a lighthearted way. That’s its purpose. I see “Chuck” as removing barriers when imperfect humans try to communicate the message of Jesus. I applaud the ministry and have become a fan.

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