In this month’s edition of HomeWords Bound, the Rev. Benton Heisler, the Michigan Conference Director of Connectional Ministry, celebrates fall and a new season of faithful teamwork and fruitful ministry.
Ahhh…. Fall is in the air! Pumpkin soup recipes are on the home magazine covers, and Pumpkin Latte is at the coffee shops for those of you that like those kinds of treats. Me? I am an apple pie kind of guy. Schools are back in rhythm, and your favorite sports teams have already won and lost a game or two. Every team has a stated purpose and outlines goals for the coming season.
The United Methodist Church that Linda and I attend just completed a 5-week series titled “Squad Goals.” This series was based on recasting the vision and reminding us of the core values that go into the ministry to which God has called us:
• Conversational: Begin each day open to whom God may put in your path and begin a conversation.
• Invitational: Identify one person you believe God has put on your heart to invite to church.
• Relational: Consider serving on a ministry team and finding a group to study the Bible.
• Missional: Challenge yourself to bless some in your local/global community.
• Foundational: Build time for God into your personal, family, and professional life.”
As an Annual Conference and all the congregations that are united to create the Michigan Conference, we too have a clear vision, stated purpose and mission that unites us in our common efforts.
“The purpose of the Annual Conference is to create disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all for the glory of God.” – The Book of Discipline of the UMC – 2016
The Michigan Conference equips and connects through Christ-centered:
• Mission and Ministry
• Bold and Effective Leaders
• Vibrant Congregations
This vision helps to inform strategies, align resources, make decisions, evaluate ministry, and shape what we are known for across the state.
It has been an exciting month of ministry! Bishop Bard led the 30+ members of the Area Ministry Team along with other leaders in a two-day retreat. The setting and facilitator allowed us to discover the unique gifts we all possess, the shared values and purpose on which we are focused and gave us time to begin to develop the deep relationships necessary to serve together effectively.
That is the core element to any strong team, isn’t it? Practice, practice, practice! The repetition of positive experiences and techniques creates the usage patterns that become almost second nature when put into motion in real time. It is no different in the Church.
It is hard to break old negative habits and behaviors, but we worship God who can “do a new thing.” It is hard to take a risk and step out in faith, but we worship God who was willing to risk the implementation of God’s intent for the world by placing it in our hands, saying “Go now and do likewise… and I will send my Spirit to be with you (Matthew 28:19).”
As we enter into these beginning months as a “new Conference”, I encourage us to frequently remind one another of the “team mission, vision, and goals.”
- Making Disciples.
- Transforming the world.
- Equipping and connecting through Christ Centered
- Mission and Ministry
- Bold and Effective Leaders
- Vibrant Congregations
And when our “season” is over, may we be greeted warmly by God in those words of Matthew 25:21; “Well done good and faithful servant.”
~“If you make my Word your home, you will indeed be my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:13 New Jerusalem Bible.)” Each article I write for this column is based in the guidance of a Scripture passage. I pray that these reflections, stories, and information will assist you in your own witness and service as a Disciple of Jesus Christ.