Nov 14 2012

Grand Rapids District: Are We Willing?

Original post at http://www.grdistrictumc.org/2012/11/are-we-willing/

I hung it on the wall my first week in the office.  I put it where I would see it often.  It’s a copy of the current Grand Rapids District Vision Statement.  If you haven’t read it lately it says this in part; “The churches of the Grand Rapids District of The United Methodist Church are healthy, vital, outer directed and are united in actively making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” 

Now there is a whole lot of stuff to chew on in that statement.  And the fact is that various components of the statement have drawn my attention, contemplation and prayers since I attached it to my wall four months ago.  Today however, it’s the word “actively” that has me thinking.  Actively making disciples. What I am wondering as I consider this phrase is just what would happen across our District if we made this task the first priority of our churches? 

What would happen if every person in every one of our churches said to him or herself, “What could I do every single day to actively help to make disciples of Jesus?  How could I invite people around me, in my sphere of influence, who don’t know or understand the wonderful grace of God to experience it?  What could we do as a church, to help people grow more and more connected to this mission of Christ in the world?” 

What would happen if that goal truly became the core motivation for every person and every Church on our District on an ongoing daily basis?  What if we put everything we had into it?  What if we were willing to make any change, follow any course necessary, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, simply put everything on the table to accomplish this goal?  Jesus said the fields are ripe for the harvest; the only thing lacking is workers.  I want to be one of those workers in this District!  I want to help energize all of us to see this vision come to reality!  And I absolutely believe it could be a reality in every church.  It won’t be easy, it will take a faithful consistent effort.  It will take more than anything else though, the will to do it. 

In 1980 I remember reading a report about world hunger.  It was a report that had been created by a Presidential commission during the Carter administration.  I looked at the report from the perspective of one who assumed that world hunger was pretty much an insurmountable problem that really couldn’t be solved.  The report however stated that we could care for world hunger.  We could in fact feed the world, we had the resources to do it basically no problem… we simply lacked the will to do it.  In other words people were not willing to do the things it would take to make sure that everyone had food to eat.

I think it’s just as true with this issue of actively making disciples, daily seeing that people are discovering the grace of God in all kinds of ways.  We could do this, we really could!  Despite the challenges, despite the difficulties, we could do it.  The question is do we have the will?


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