BE SEE DO
(Our conference feels that a new movement has started with the Holy Spirit. I am a part of the Vital Congregation Task Force of our annual conference and feeling the movement also. So, I want to summarize the key elements of the movement here.)
We have this wonderful vision that was in God’s heart, transported into our Bishop’s heart, and now planted in our heart!
What if by 2020,
1. All congregations in our conference had a clear, simple vision and strategy for making disciples in their unique context who reach their mission fields.
2. Our conference culture naturally encouraged innovative ways of multiplying disciple-making movements to create new places for new people.
3. One-third of the congregations in the conference starting something new that reaches new people through context-discerned models of new faith communities and/or new expressions of current offerings.
4. We have a new multicultural congregation that consistently engaged no fewer than 1,000 active participants each week.
5. We had at least 5 existing congregations with no fewer than 1,000 active participants each week.
6. We had at least 20 faith communities with no fewer than 500 active participants each week.
However, we also have doubts and fears. Can we make it happen? Can I survive in the middle of this great movement? Am I going to be wiped out by the waves of this movement?
I am not able to answer these questions for you! I simply suggest that we can find answers together.
My first suggestion would be that first we have to restore our identity! Who are we? To what mission are we called to? We are all different and we are all called to different ministry! Not everybody will make a 1000 member congregation. Not everybody will serve a multi-ethnic congregation. Some will do. Some will have small but meaningful ministry in their own unique settings. Other churches will support those ministries financially and spiritually. So, we need many strong churches that can support small but meaningful ministries. Whether the churches are big or small, we have to be authentic.
Jesus’ disciples came from all walks of life as we do. Not one of them was perfect as we are. Each ministry setting was unique as our setting is. We celebrate that and encourage each faith community to express themselves authentically to the God who has made us and is calling us. When we surrender to God’s will, we will catch on fire in ways that catch others on fire. So, now I want you to discuss the following questions in a group of three:
- What and who is God calling you to?
- How are you positioning yourself so that the Holy Spirit catches you on fire?
- What is your congregation’s clear, simple purpose and discipling process?
Once we are honest to our calling and confirm our identity, we can give to God what we have in our hands so that God can use them. Like the little boy who brought his lunch box to Jesus, we have to see what we have in our possession and bring it to Jesus with faith and trust. Let us have faith that God has already given what we need. Let us open our eyes and see what is available. Let us not complain for what we do not have. The solutions to the challenges we face actually can be found among our communities.
- What are the challenges that you and/or your congregation are facing?
- Who might God be sending your way for a time such as this?
- What assets and partnership has God placed in your community for God’s purposes?
When we know who we are and find out what we have already, then let us start something that we can do with faith. Small things with great love can change the world. All the great things started with small act of love. When a sister had compassion for the dying people in India, Mother Theresa was born. When a young lawyer had compassion for the homeless, Habitat for Humanity began. When we read the history of all the wonderful mission and ministry we find that they all started with one person or a small group of persons with compassion. They just did! They did not count the budget, calculated the logistics, analyze the process! They just did it, giving up all the privileges and status.
Now (1) you know who you are and to what you are called to and (2) you found what you have in your hand. Then (3) do what you can do with it according to your authentic call! The harvest depends on God and not on us. We do not work for the results but from our call. It is our belief that still God will bring great success if we are faithful to our call.
Let us discuss in our groups
- What are the things that you or your congregation can do now with what you have?
- What are the things that really show your identity that you have found and claim?
- What are the things that you really want to do regardless the cost and sacrifice?