Learners and Influencers … to Serve

In last month’s article, I posed the following question, “Are you a disciple, learner, and influencer?”  I then suggested some ways to prioritize our opportunities to become better disciples, learners, and influencers.  One of those ways I suggested was through the use of resources.  I think I’ve mentioned before that I subscribe to a free on-line devotional called “Lead Like Jesus;” so let me share what I came across in the last few weeks.

Jesus calls us to be good stewards of the leadership opportunities and responsibilities He gives us.  He places us where we are for His purposes, and He places people in our spheres of influence so that they can experience His touch.  He provides resources – spiritual, intellectual, emotional, material, including our time and relationships – to equip us in His work.  When the way is hard, He reminds us to seek His perspective and draw on the helping presence of His Spirit and all He has given to empower us.  How are you stewarding what God has given you?  If we want to increase our influence in the lives of people around us, we need to invest in them and in our relationships with them.  Investing in people requires time, interest, and attention.  It means that we care about what people are going through and how they feel.  It means that we build relationships with them.  Jesus spent three years investing in His disciples.  He lived life with them and cared about them as people.  How are you investing in the lives of those close to you?

As I reflect on our Virginia Conference vision statement – “To be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve.” – and re-read the words above (especially those I’ve bolded); it’s all about being equipped “to Serve.”  And, if you haven’t seen it yet or heard about it; our theme for this year’s Annual Conference is, “Servant Leaders Making a Difference.”  We’ll be making a difference in a variety of ways, probably the most visible will be participating in ‘Great Day of Service’ events (within the city of Hampton and in the convention center) in lieu of attending meetings all Saturday afternoon.  Another less dramatic way is that our Board of Laity voted recently to not have a lunch or dinner but rather donate a portion of their meal funds to assist in this Day of Service.

I know that everybody doesn’t go to Annual Conference and you may be thinking and asking, “ … that sounds great, but what’s the point here for me?”  Have you considered doing something like this in your local church?  Instead of going to another Admin Board meeting or a Mission team meeting – how about “doing mission” in the community?  Instead of having another church dinner – because we always have that one at this time of the year – let’s donate what we would have spent on serving the community.  It’s all about learners and influencers … ready to serve!!

John Meeuwissen, Lay Leader