The United Methodist Church has a long history of ministry with the Boy Scouts of America, being its second largest sponsor with 363,876 scouts in 10,868 units chartered by 6,700 churches (source). With that said, the Southern Baptist Church also has a long history of ministry with the BSA as well. The recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow homosexual scouts under 18 to participate in its scouting activities (as if they hadn’t been for years?) has put its relationship with the SBC in jeopardy.
At their recent convention in May, the Southern Baptist Church expressed disappointment in the BSA’s decision, asking that those in executive leadership roles within the organization be removed and vowed to support families and churches that choose to cut ties with the BSA. This is where the Scouting Ministry of The United Methodist Church stepped in.
An invitation from the Scouting Ministry of The United Methodist Church has been extended to any of the 3,981 Scout units chartered by a Southern Baptist Church that loses its home, saying those troops will be “warmly welcomed by neighboring United Methodist congregations” (source).
Now, I recognize this might be impossible but I’m wondering if we might see this invitation not so much as a political statement but instead what it looks like to be the Church. May it be a statement about creating a safe place for youth as they wrestle with identity, gay or straight, while loving them with the love of Christ. Nothing more, nothing less.