Sunday evening I arrived home following a fruitful (and a bit tiring) Annual Conference. Joe represented our churches in a professional and prayerful manner. Thanks Joe for your hard work and dedication!
This year's legislation passed without much conversation, which means that very few resolutions and petitions were of divisive subjects. Instead of turning into a weekend best described as polarizing and political, this year's Annual Conference was primarily peaceful and attentive to worship. You might ask the question, "Did you accomplish anything this year?" And to be honest, I'm not sure how to answer that question. Was there helpful legislation? Yes. Will the legislation turn into action? Maybe. Hopefully. Will that action result in vital churches and the making of disciples? Hmm...
The mission of the United Methodist Church (and thus the mission of the three local churches I serve) is to "make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." I appreciate this mission statement. I think it's a responsible, visionary approach to Jesus' words in Matthew 28: 19-20, otherwise known as The Great Commission. We spent the duration of Annual Conference striving to better understand exactly how disciples are made. And one thing is certain: Disciples are NOT made through legislation.
Nothing voted upon at AC will produce a new disciple or breathe new life into an existing disciple. Neither will catchy phraseology, additional programs or building revisions. Disciples are not made by external efforts. Disciples are made when the Holy Spirit grips us and begins to form our hearts in the shape of Christ's. And through history this tends to happen when the people of God begin walking together in faith, sharing life in Christ, and crying out for the Kingdom of God (...on earth as it is in heaven). But first things first. In order to know how a disciple is made, we must first know what is a disciple? A good starting point is to ask the question, "Who is Jesus?"
So, who is Jesus? Leave me your comments. Let me know your thoughts. When we have enough responses, we'll move into a different question with disciple-making as our overarching goal.