Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 28:16-20
Today we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord. The best way to celebrate this eternal life is to live it. We want to live this eternal life as it should be lived. What is the best way to live it? Right before Jesus ascended to heaven He gave the great commission to the disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
From this great commission, our UMC has formulated a “mission statement”: “Make disciples of Jesus to transform the world.” On the last day of March, the UMC El Camino Real District 87 churches gathered together for a Discovery Event.
About 235 people gathered. They began a worship service led by the praise band of the Korean United Methodist Church of Santa Clara Valley. A Hispanic pastor led a prayer in Spanish and a young pastor read the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13. Bishop Brown preached about extravagant love (you can watch his message at our conference website!). Then I led the guided prayer. After that prayer, Blake Busick introduced our conference strategic plan.
First we had a “Focus Discussion” time and we discussed our current realities, our dreams and visions, and our decisions to do something new every day. One great thing about this focus discussion was that it was a guided discussion with focus on our church vitality. We collected all this communal wisdom to make our conference strategy for starting new churches and increasing church vitality.
After that the Los Altos UMC associate pastor, the Rev. Sam Yun, came forward to present his young adult ministry program. He is doing a young adult ministry with other churches in our district; San Jose First, Fremont First, KUMC of Santa Clara Valley, and Campus Ministry. They have a ministry called Open Circle which started with 17 people and now 70-80 young adults are meeting.
Afterwards, pastor Jane from Almaden Hill UMC and Rob Kirk from Cambrian UMC presented their joint Small Group ministry. They recruited and trained small group leaders together and launched 12 small groups this year.
Those two programs emphasized a team effort of churches in the same circuit. Then DS Kristie Olah presented many successful ministries that reached out to new people in the community. Our church was also mentioned because of our new ministries for Spanish speaking people and for the Philippine group.
Last but not least was our new Conference Superintendent for Church Vitality, Bener Agtarap. He was born in the Philippines and studied accounting before attending seminary. At the age of 22, he started a church and at the age of 38 he became a DS and started a new district, which grew into a conference. He will start new churches and revitalize existing churches in our conference. Everybody liked him because of his sense of humor and passion for starting new churches.
All these presentations from diverse pastors and staffs demonstrated our passion to “make disciples of Jesus to transform the world.” We will baptize people and teach them the teachings of Jesus. We will practice love and forgiveness and become role models for the next generations. This is how we live as Easter People. Are you ready to live the eternal life, the gift that you have received from Jesus?
- Who in your neighborhood would you like to make a disciple of Jesus?
- What do you want to do with these new disciples to transform your community?