In this Advent of expectation draw us together in unity, that our praise and worship might echo in these walls and also through our lives. In this Advent of expectation draw us together in mission, that the hope within might be the song we sing, and the melody of our lives. In this Advent of expectation draw us together in service, that the path we follow might lead us from a stable to a glimpse of eternity.
“I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God’s creational intentions.”
― John Wesley, How To Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer
Holiness is not a word we use much in contemporary society. Webster says it means the state of being holy–no surprise there. But there’s many of us that have only the vaguest notion of what that implies.
Again, Mr. Webster states that the best definition of the word “holy” is “Belonging to, derived from, or associated with divine power; sacred.” Other definitions of the word include: “worthy of worship or high esteem” or “living according to a religious or spiritual system.” There are several other lesser used meanings as well.
So what Wesley was dreaming of, what he was praying for, was a renewal of divine power, a return to a spiritual lifestyle of true community. And even though that 18th century dream might seem quaint to us today, what Wesley yearned for is the answer to many of our world’s greatest and most challenging problems.
No one goes hungry in an authentic community based on living a spiritual lifestyle centered on loving one another more than we love ourselves.
I share Wesley’s dream. And I continue to pray for the day when we have an authentic global community, a community where God’s creational intentions are fulfilled for the entire human family and all of creation.
I am in Blackstone, Virginia with the clergy of the Lynchburg District and the clergy of the James River District at a training event that began yesterday morning and will conclude later this morning. The focus of this training is on making mission happen.
The keynote leader for the training is Ray Buchanan, author of “Getting Off Our Buts: Making Mission Happen.” Ray knows well how to make mission happen; he is the co-founder of Stop Hunger Now (1998) and founder of the Society of St. Andrew (1980). He has inspired us and entertained us with many personal stories of the miracles he has witnessed in mission.
He shared with us a blueprint that he has followed for decades to help congregations engage in mission, and this blueprint comes straight from Scripture! The blueprint has seven steps.
Identify the Need – Mark 6:35-36
Locate the Resources – Mark 6:37-38
Get Organized – Mark 6:39-40
Give Thanks – Mark 6:41a
Just Do It! – Mark 6:41b-42
Clean Up Your Mess – Mark 6:43
Repeat Steps 1-6
What do you think of this Biblical blueprint for mission? For the readers from Monroe UMC, do you think this blueprint would work for us at Monroe UMC to engage in new mission opportunities? Please post your comments to this blog site.
Can you find me in the group picture of clergy taken yesterday in our “Imagine No Malaria” tee shirts?
Stop Hunger Now has just finished a thee-day staff retreat at Blackstone, Virgina. The 66 full time staff in attendance worked hard (and played hard) while we together. We also spent a great deal of time getting reconnected with each other and just sharing war stories. Even though we are scattered from coast-to-coast, we share close bond that keeps us centered on the wonderful mission in which we are all so passionately engaged.
Every staff retreat gets larger, with more and more new folks coming on board. That is gratifying. But, far more gratifying is seeing the quality and the unbelievable commitment of those present. Every outside speaker that presents to the staff, and every new member of the staff all make the same observation: nowhere have they felt and experienced the passion, dedication and engagement they they see in the Stop Hunger Now staff.
I totally agree. The Stop Hunger Now staff are tireless in their commitment to create a world without hunger. They are true superstars in the fight to end hunger in our lifetime. While we were together at Blackstone we celebrated a enormous milestone in the life of our organization. Stop Hunger Now has now packaged over 100 million meals for the hungry and malnourished of our world.
That is a huge accomplishment. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have demonstrated that we can all make a difference. Working together we really can change the world.
Those volunteers were led by Stop Hunger Now staff that are true heroes in the fight to end hunger. I am tremendously proud and deeply honored to be associated with them.
Thank you team. “You are crazy good at what you do!”
I pastored rural United Methodist Churches in Virginia for eight years before beginning what is now more than thirty-five years as a professional hunger fighter. Although I felt called to the pastorate, and I loved being a pastor, I always felt a deep sense of frustration at my inability to help my congregations move off dead center in regard to mission outreach.
All my congregations wanted to make a real difference in the world. All of them wanted to reach out in the name of Christ to be involved in significant mission projects. But none of those congregations were able to make the impact they truly desired. And I lacked the leadership skills necessary to help them.
I wish I knew then what I know now.
Those are the open words of the Preface of GETTING OFF OUR BUTS: Making Mission Happen, my new book that will be published this summer. The book is a biblical blueprint for getting congregations and other organizations totally engaged in mission work that can change the world.
There is no reason for any person, group or church not to be actively engaged in making a difference in our broken world. GETTING OFF OUR BUTS is a manual that guides congregations through every step of successful mission work.The book is a guide to help congregations take the necessary steps to become real leaders in reaching out to those most in need, both in their local communities and around the world.
I will share excerpts from the book in the coming few months.