John Wesley Leek

Author's details

Name: John Wesley Leek
Date registered: March 14, 2012

Latest posts

  1. GBCS: The United Methodist Church at Work in Washington — September 21, 2014
  2. Indiana Jones Invites You to the Prayer Meeting — July 22, 2013
  3. Evangelism is a Way of Being in Love — June 3, 2013
  4. How Deep the Father’s Love for Us — May 18, 2013
  5. A Short Prayer For Today (Boston + Texas) — April 19, 2013

Most commented posts

  1. What to Do When People are Stupid and Wrong — 2 comments
  2. Building the Church from the Margins — 1 comment
  3. Can Technology Help Us Be Both Deep And Seeker Friendly? — 1 comment
  4. A Surprisingly Helpful Word From Winkler — 1 comment
  5. When Our "Good" Actions and God’s Commands Conflict — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Sep 21 2014 GBCS: The United Methodist Church at Work in Washington

Original post at

“I'm a dumb Methodist preacher so give me a moment,” Representative (and United Methodist Elder) Emanuel Cleaver said twice while speaking to several dozen young United Methodist Clergy on January 27, 2014. He served as the highlight of the General Board of Church and Society's 12th Annual Young Clergy Leadership Forum for me.

 Cleaver shared from his experience as a pastor in Missouri and as an unofficial pastor to his colleagues and their staffs and reminded us that as pastors “the blood of the prophets flows through our veins.” He also shared his conviction that as pastors we must “put the church first and the other will come.”

From Left: Representative Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Rev. John Wesley Leek
I joined clergy from most of the United States' Annual Conferences along with two delegates from Liberia to meet many of the General Board's staff and study both how the GBCS works in the District of Colombia and how local churches can study and implement the United Methodist Church's Social Principles.

Assistant General Secretary Rev. Neal Christie shared that the GBCS' primary way of influencing policy in our capitol is not through direct lobbying, but through facilitating meetings between allied people and groups and the relevant elected officials and staff.

 I was surprised to learn of the most significant example of this from the 90's. Christie shared that work on the Americans with Disabilities Act wasn't progressing at the Capitol. Staff from Senators Bob Dole and Ted Kennedy's offices were able to meet at the GBCS building, located on Capitol Hill, and wrote the bill there. The ADA was written at a United Methodist building!

The work of the GBCS is unmistakably political. Staff shared that they believe their work is guided only by our United Methodist Social Principles. Our Social Principles are not a concise document however and emphasis is clearly an issue of discretion. I would have liked to have learned more about how they choose which areas to emphasize and which to ignore with their staff of 23.

I was pleased to find the staff of the GBCS isn't limited to the United States. Reflective of the growth in conferences in Africa the GBCS now has staff located in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo working on, among other things, helping lessen violence against women. 

GBCS staff sought to communicate clearly that they are a resource to the local church. The impression I received was that if you are doing any work around justice in your community they can be reached for help with materials or to refer your church to others with expertise. I wasn't aware local churches could contact them directly for help. The message I heard was “do.”

It was a real blessing to participate in a word and table service at the GBCS' Simpson Memorial Chapel where GBCS General Secretary Susan Henry-Crowe and National Council of Churches General Secretary Jim Winkler served communion.

This forum was greatly enriching and I look forward to continuing to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ actively involved in Jesus' ushering in of the Kingdom of God. I am thankful for the generous support and freedom given to attend by both our Mississippi Annual Conference and the people of Jefferson Street UMC.

Chaplain of the United States Senate Barry Black also took time to speak with our clergy group. His story and oratory are inspiring and he encouraged us with the words of Acts 13 to “(serve) the purpose of God in (your) own generation.” One of the other participants asked Black “What do you hope for most?” He responded from 1 Thessalonians 4:16 beginning “For the Lord Himself will come...” “The world cannot bring that which I seek,” Black said.

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Jul 22 2013 Indiana Jones Invites You to the Prayer Meeting

Original post at

(image credit)

You want to talk to God. 

Let's go seem Him together. 

I've got nothing
 better to do.  

- Indiana Jones

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Jun 03 2013 Evangelism is a Way of Being in Love

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We're all evangelists now. Even self proclaimed athiests want you to come to their point of view!

When we love something we tell people about it and why. We want them to appreciate the same things we do ("Check out this band!") or use the same products ("I'm a mac and I'm a pc.").

We do the same things with sports teams. We extol the positives and bury the negatives. When we're doing it right it's the same with relationships. Isn't it?

Evangelism doesn't have to be hard or complicated or embarrassing. There's this guy, we call him Jesus, who did more for us than we could ever do for ourselves. God, in the Holy Spirit, meets and knows us and never leaves us. 

Why would we talk less about this relationship than our others?

Why stop being an evangelist only when it comes to the most important thing?

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May 18 2013 How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

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Only one song has seemed to capture the emotion I've been going through as I graduate from Asbury Seminary, leave my stint in hospital chaplaincy and move to Natchez, MS to begin as a pastor.

What surprised me was to discover recently in a conversation with my Mom that this song isn't that old. It was first published in 1995.

Another version by Joy Williams of "The Civil Wars:"

Times of inner turmoil, even when those times are good, call for deep music. This has stuck with me this past week or so.

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Apr 19 2013 A Short Prayer For Today (Boston + Texas)

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Tragic events, like those ongoing in Boston and Texas, sometimes leave us feeling isolated and overwhelmed. In these times it is tempting to close ourselves off for protection, but there is a better way.

Lord Jesus, lead us to love and not "play it safe." Lift us to see you through the mess we know. Cast out fear and grant us a courage to meet and serve the world as you have. Amen.

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Apr 11 2013 Knowing the Spirit is the Cure for Loneliness

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Come, oh Holy Spirit!
Come, power of God and tender sweetness of God!
Come, you who are both motion and rest!
Renew our daring,
Be our companion so that we will not feel lonely in this world.
Create in us intimacy with God!
We do not say any longer, as the Prophet said,
"Come from the four winds"
as though we did not yet know where you come from.
We say, "Come, Spirit, from the pierced side of Christ on the Cross!
Come on the breath blowing from the lips of the Risen Jesus!"

(An ancient prayer found in Cantalamessa's Come, Creator Spirit p.22)

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