The Power of WEPosted: September 17, 2012 Filed under: Bishop's Blog 19 Comments
I was 8 years old the first time I was on a team. I played right field for the “Cardinals” summer league baseball team in Fulton, Mississippi. I was not God’s most gifted person, especially since in those days the age groups were wider and I was the youngest on the team. But I had a hat and a team jersey. I barely remember the coach. What I do remember, though, is that we were a team. We practiced together, we played together, we won and we lost, as a team. I learned then and I have learned many times since, that we are stronger together than we are on our own. I’ve learned that it is a rare thing for a team to win because of one participant.
There is power in the “we.”
As I come to live and serve among you, my sense is that the power of we sometimes morphs into the power of me. I’m discovering that many of our clergy and laity feel isolated. I’m discovering that many of our congregations have lost touch with the larger sense of community with our neighboring sisters and brothers.
I’m discovering that we’ve lost a sense of the power of We.
In a day when life seems uncertain and in a day when there seems to be more bad news than good, we’ve a story to tell that is absolutely amazing! Did you know that together through the We, the United Methodist Church serves in over 2000 mission places throughout the world? Did you know that because of you, the United Methodist Church started 200 new churches in Vietnam alone?
The power of We.
In 1750 John Wesley introduced the idea of the conneXion. No, this is not a misspelling of the word we commonly use for the “Connection” but rather was Father Wesley’s way of introducing accountability among the Lay Preachers to one another. It was an attempt to help his local pastors understand that they were linked through Christ to one another. Indeed, Wesley taught that we are accountable to one another. In fact, Wesley went beyond the concept of team to speak of the concept of kin. He believed, and rightly so, that we are blood kin, kin through the blood of Jesus Christ, blood shed on the cross.
The power of We.
The power that We are not alone. We are intricately bound to one another not only because we share a common identity as members of the household of God, but also because we are the people called Methodist. And together, through our faithful giving, we can and will do more than we ever dreamed possible.
As your new bishop, I am expecting God to do greater things than we ever dreamed possible. I look forward to sharing in the ministry of Christ with you. We are on the same team, members of the same family, bound to one another through the cross of Jesus Christ!
It is of great importance that we be re-introduced in the church life today. We have been so impressed by the world to be in search of what is best for “I”. It is important to embrace your message that empowers “we the people of God” to move forward and do great things in ministrty together. We cannot survive as the church until “we” becomes more important than the sucess of “I”. We appreciate your message and look forward to more conversation about a renewed hope in the people we call Methodist.
Steven L. Douglas
East Trinity-Beech Bluff-Mt. Pleasant
Indeed, Steven. I am convinced that this is a message for such a time as this.
Thank you, Bishop!
Your words are encouraging and I am hopeful for our ministry together in our conference.
We must remain connected! Partnering in ministry is a must to reach all people and share the good news of Our Lord and Saviour.
blessings and peace,
Clark Memorial UMC
United Methodist Communications
Thanks, Amelia. It’s our greatest hope for the future.
I hope” we” will become a powerful tool for us all. I think you will be a crucial cog in this endeaver. With God all things are possible.
Thanks, James. I think “we” all are crucial in this endeavor!
There is no “I” in team but there is the “we” in power. Interesting to think about.
Nice point, Gary. Enjoyed our time at Lakeshore last week. Look forward to more.
I am so excited to have our new Bishop on board and ready to roll. I am the Memphis Conference Peace with Justice advocate and work with the Tennessee Supreme Court on our Access to Justice Commission’s Faith Based Initiative. The initiative was rolled out at the Memphis Annual Conference in June of 2012. I am hopeful I can meet with the Bishop to explain this proposal.
In the Memphis Conference Jackson District, I also work with the Conflict Resolution Center housed at the Communities of Hope, former St. Andrew’s Methodist Church. We provide a space for the mediation of disputes and Youth Court in Madison County I would love to have the Bishop visit our little mission!
Linda Warren Seely
Your work is crucial in the environment in which we serve.
Blessings and prayers for you and those with whom you work.
and the church (Body of Christ) said….AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The congregation I serve is frustrated with our ConneXion. They need counseling that leads to forgiveness and reconciliation, much in the way a husband and wife need marriage counseling to heal areas of brokenness. Thank you for reminders of what WE are doing together. I trust that this will encourage them. We are looking forward to your Oct. visit to the Clarksville District. Blessings, Jacqueline (Mississippi born & raised).
I have been a Methodist preacher’s kid all of my life. I am now serving as a Licensed Local Pastor, seeking ordination some day. My blood runs “Methodist.” Your blog is the inspiration if feel we as clergy and laity need as we march into a new era together. Thank you for your presence, your boldness of faith and your leadership among us — “We, the people of the United Methodist Church in the Nashville Area.”
Grace and peace,
Thanks, Tommy. Blessings in your work.
As WE rediscover the uniqueness and the gifts of our conferences, that power will exponentiate! Thank you for your understanding and leadership in this effort.
The time is now to discover the We!
I appreciate your words today. I pray they come from your heart and they define who you are as our Bishop and they are not just words of encouragement although we need encouragement.
I asked one of the churches on my charge yesterday if they had ever met a Bishop and no one could ever remember meeting one. I quickly reminded them that they missed a chance to meet you just a few days ago. I don’t know exactly what this example means but I pray that God intercedes and causes a spark to be blown into a flame, which will refine their spirits and cause them to shine for God’s glory and the building of the kingdom.
I pray that God’s Spirit working through your encouragement and leadership causes folks like me and the small churches I serve to realize our importance and our opportunities to be more than we are already.
I pray that the power of “we” causes our ConneXion to “catch the spirit” to bring back some more words from the past, and sends us into the future learning from the past and being bold going forward for God’s glory and to build the kingdom.
Have a good blest day, Steve
The only way we can move into the future is together. If we are to trust that God is with us, and if we are to trust that the promise of Scripture is to those greater things about which John 14:8 invites, we will only live into that future together.
Vitality is not about size. It is about being in mission with those whom God is giving us.
The post about which you question the motive of my heart is more about God’s desire for our future than mine. Though I do believe in the deepest places of my heart that we are strongest together.
If we truly believe we are “going on to perfection” and if we “expect to be made perfect in this life” then we will deepen our connection with one another. We have 430 mission places in the Memphis Conference and about 600 in the Tennessee Conference. Mission places = churches. If we are going to reach our communities for Christ, we will need to live into the economy of the whole not typical isolated existence of the parts.
The time is now.
I was able to ‘hear’ of your heart for this conneXion your first weekend in TN – and I give thanks for your presence.
*Rev Jackie Clevenger* *Convener – TN Conf Response Team* * *