Every church will decide. Some of you may be thinking “My church will not decide!” But, here’s the truth, deciding not to discern is a decision. If a church decides not to enter the discernment process what that means is that a small group of leaders decides on behalf of the whole church who that church is and who their church will be in the future. The “not deciding decision” defaults to a future in the UMC (which will be very different from the UMC that has existed since 1968). The discernment process outlined by the North Alabama Conference simply allows a church to walk through a thoughtful and engaging journey to discover who their church is and how it feels called to be faithful disciples of, and witnesses for, Christ. In addition, churches need to consider the cost to them to vote to disaffiliate (There is an actual cost associated with voting to do so which has to be paid to the North Alabama Conference upon voting and being released by the annual conference that is comprised primarily by two things (The unpaid apportionments from 2021 and 2022 and the local portion of the unfunded pension liability number which is refigured quarterly). There is also the cost to a local church if they stay in the UMC, but a significant portion of their traditional Methodist members leave. (There is no up front cost to the conference to vote to stay in the UMC, but the cost of members who leave or stop giving could ultimately be more in the long run than the cost of voting to disaffiliate and affiliate with the Global Methodist Church. Whether a church votes to stay or leave the UMC there is value in discerning with the whole of the church who that church is theologically and where they feel led to be in the future.