The world tempts us to add something to Jesus when we envision [church] leadership. Unruly hearts clamor for acknowledgement while our worldview can become caught up in the latest leadership trends. Silently, and often without our awareness, the world’s perspective creeps into our thinking, changing our [church] leadership equation to “Jesus (plus popularity),” “Jesus (plus power),” or “Jesus (plus prestige).” Sometimes the “plus …” even sounds Godly or spiritual: “Jesus (plus greater ministry impact).” How are you tempted to fill in the blank in your [church’s] life and leadership?
In reflecting on the above mini-devotional recently shared at a meeting of your Alexandria District Leadership Team, I found myself seriously pondering the question, often posed by Bishop Lewis, “Do you believe in the God factor? – Do you believe in the Jesus factor?” We are bombarded each and every day with so much information on a variety of topics – relevant news, new products, better meal choices, faster cars, new ‘apps,’ irrelevant news, latest trends, quick solutions, etc. So, how does your district leadership team, in this environment, keep you excited about your local church and the greater United Methodist Church? Do you believe in the Jesus factor?
Your local church ministries in the Alexandria District have been very exciting and fruitful as we’ve increased in both average worship attendance and professions of faith last year; so how do we keep the excitement going? Under our DS’ leadership and with the help of our bi-district staff, we’ve pursued such initiatives as Shift, Who is our Neighbor, and Next Level Innovations – not for all of our churches, but rather where it makes sense and letting God do the rest. We’re also being strategic in our going forward – just because you have a great initiative, it doesn’t mean you do it every year. So for 2019, in lieu of another cohort for Next Level Innovations, we’ll invite 12-14 churches across the bi-district to take part in Shift Plus – best practices out of Shift and Next level Innovations. Do you believe in the God factor?
Now about the greater UMC. You’ve probably heard that there is a called General Conference, scheduled for February 23-26, 2019. Your district leadership team asks everyone to do one or all of the following:
- Stay informed – Conference website and/or Bi-District website
- Pray – from 2:23 – 2:26 (AM or PM) [to correspond to the dates!]
- Attend one (or all) of the following informative opportunities:
- General Conference Briefing – Aug. 8th @ St. George’s UMC
- Developing and Implementing an Outward Mindset – Sept. 28-29 (all day) @ St. Stephen’s UMC
- What Just Happened – Mar. 13, 2019 @ Herndon UMC
And remember … Do you believe in the Jesus factor?
John Meeuwissen, Lay Leader