Sometimes I struggle with trying to understand exactly what it is God would have me do in the world. Maybe you can understand my struggle. I find that there are three things that help me know how to align myself with God more fully.
1) Identity: Who am I? It is not only a question of adolescence. It is also a question of personhood at any life stage. Who am I now that ________________ has happened in my life? It could be the loss of a partner or of a child or of a job. It could be at the completion of an advanced degree or of a long career ending in a much longed for retirement.
2) Conversion: Have I yet given myself fully to God? Have I headed intentionally in a God-direction? Maybe I love Jesus, but, does my checkbook still need a conversion? Do the daily choices I make have anything to do with going to church on Sunday?
3) Community: How are we all there for each other? What should we be held accountable for in our daily walk? What group of folks have enough authority in our lives to love us into the Kingdom of God?
It seems to me that these three all work on each other and with each other. They are starting points to have a more practical theology about God and about what God would have us do in this world.
John Wesley always started with a theological foundation. He would ask “what is God doing in the world?” and then try and join in and also invite others to join with him. The modern church tends to have an anthropological foundation instead. It asks “How can we get more people to go to Bible study?” or “How can we get more young families in the Church?” or “What would get young adults to give more of their income to the church?” These questions are not bad or even wrong. They are just the wrong starting point. John Wesley would remind us to start with God.
What is the Community known as Kessler Park United Methodist Church going to be doing to align itself with the work of God in 2013? We need a plan. God is not calling us to committee work. God is not calling us to simply show up. I believe God is calling on us to think bigger than that.
Rev. David Carr has asked me to share a process with KPUMC’s leadership at a Church Retreat on Saturday, January 26 from 9:00am to 1:00pm. In this time we will vision, plan, struggle, and pray over God’s call for us in 2013. We will look at what we have done well. We will look for opportunities to do things we have not yet tried. We will do this using a descriptive model of Wesleyan Ministry for the Church. Three questions will be the key:
1) What could we be doing for those folks beyond the influence of the Church?
2) How can we help people to make strong commitments to discipleship?
3) What will we be doing to help people grow in grace on their journey with God?
My goal is to leave with a clear plan of action on the 26th. We will be sharing that plan with the congregation briefly in worship on the 27th.
The mission of the United Methodist Church is to “Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” We are called in such a time as this to do exactly that. It will take all of us. If you would like to know more then please hear not only God’s call to you to serve but also the church’s call to help.
I believe the best days of mission and service are ahead of us at KPUMC. Let us become clearer about our identity. Let us hear the call to conversion when needed. And let us work together in community.