Reflection - November 7, 2016

By Darren McClellan

published 11/7/2016
Dear Friends,

I bid you greetings after a week of travel to the recent Council of Bishops Extended Cabinet Summit in Jacksonville, FL.    On this occasion United Methodist leaders gathered from across the United States for a time of worship, reflection, and conversation.  The general theme was on “remembering the why” of mission, followed by particular questions and strategies that are emerging from that focused mindset.  It was also a time to review our attention and outcomes related to our four areas of missional focus:

• Engaging in ministry with the poor. 
• Developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world.
• Creating new places for new people and renewing existing congregations.
• Stamping out the killer diseases of poverty by improving health globally.
Personally, I find that the benefit of such occasions to be the strengthening of our relational connection and the sharing of ideas across a variety of contexts.  For example, in one of the afternoon sessions we were matched up with members of the Susquehanna Conference in Pennsylvania, with whom we share more affinity that we might first have assumed.  We were grateful for their sharing about evaluative practices within their Board of Ministry in the interest of developing principled Christian leaders and, in turn, they were eager to learn of our experience with Communities of Transformation as means of engaging in ministry with (and not necessarily for) the poor.

Of greatest impression for me, however, was the material which has been prepared by Gil Rendle and distributed by the Texas Methodist Foundation.  Rendle’s essay, Be Strong and of Good Courage: A Call to Quiet Courage in an Anxious Time is a rich and invaluable resource for contemporary leadership in the United Methodist Church.  I believe that it is so important, in fact, that I have attached a copy and will be adding it to the district webpage with the hope that you will consider it prayerfully, and with the expectation that our clergy will be prepared to discuss it in detail in a series of focused discussion groups in the coming year (a schedule of specific options will be forthcoming).

There is so much of Rendle’s work that I find compelling, and this is an excellent introduction to those who might be encountering his ideas for the first time.  For those who are familiar with Rendle’s previous work, you will likely appreciate this summation of his most contemporary thoughts.

Happy Reading!