Many of the Regional Annual Conferences are continuing while some have concluded. After the conferences have concluded, who are the leaders selected to lead God’s people into a post pandemic society? We must answer the following questions: How do we get back to basics? How do we move from the meetings to the streets? What is the pathway we take? Do we move cautiously forward, or do we become risk takers for the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church? It is a New Year! So, Happy New Year to the 2021-2022 conference year.
How do we get back to basics? As leaders we must take another look, a fresh and deeper look. The details of our ministry must not be overlooked. It may look like the same church, community, or ministry, the same process and even the same people and setting but look again! We must look again at the details of our assignment as leaders and the details of the place where ministry happens. When I was an adjunct professor at Ohio Christian University (Morrow, GA campus) I read an article about Agassiz and the Fish. It was a great read and excellent entomological lesson. Likewise, getting back to the basic tenants of ministry can teach us some valuable lessons. How did the 41 visionaries start a denomination? Yes, we read the story, but we must take another look.
Who will Go? Go where? Ministry requires motivation. Motivation can be internal or external, high, or low tempered, and driven by risk or reward. Often the choice is left up to the individuals. We can do the work of missions (local and/or abroad), evangelism, social justice, and discipleship. I’m sure the 41 visionaries were told you can’t, but they saw something different and better. However, their greater motivation was a “we can” (Phil 4:13) attitude that moved them from the meeting to the streets. They did not see the same ole’ things. I am talking about the physical street but there are other streets which some are not motivated to move from. Some of these are Lazy LN, Doubtful DR, We Cannot Do That PKWY, Average AVE, Pessimistic PL, and even Contentment CIR. Yet, I suggest that you take another look.
Risk or Reward? Fear of the known or unknown must not be the excuse for effective leaders and risk taking in ministry. Was Jesus a risk taker? I suggest to you He was. When He went against the government in his day, He was taking a huge risk. Healing people on the Sabbath was a taking a risk. Believe it or not Faith is risk taking, risk that is motivated by one’s faith. Bruce Arians, Super Bowl LV winning coach coined the term “No risk it, no biscuit" and said “If you don't try great shots, you won't hit one. You can't live scared." Arians says, “You’re not gonna get anywhere in life not taking chances.” Although the context of his comments was throwing a football deep into the opponent’s defense, the risk is still worth the reward. Take a deeper look, not to see what’s missing, but a deeper look at the new opportunities for ministry.
Yes, we have looked at various ways to create vibrant worship experiences with virtual worship, parking lot, in-person, and teleconferencing. You have been chosen to reexamine, take another look, even take a risk or two. After this session of annual conferences conclude, I challenge you to take another look.
We are The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church recognizing the importance of Christ in our daily lives.
Leon C. Moore, Jr.
General Secretary of Evangelism and Missions
Pleasant Hill CME, Conyers, GA