I love this Message translation of the first part of Psalm 119:
Psalm 119 The Message (MSG)
119 1-8 You’re blessed when you stay on course,
walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what you tell me to do;
don’t ever walk off and leave me.
This reminds me that there are directions, discernments and a lot to do along the course that God has already given to us. It also reminds me of one of my favorite spiritual disciplines – prayer walking. Every step I take already is a walking prayer with God, but doing it intentionally, discerning God’s desires for me, and with a prayer for myself and others – this mindful, prayerful walking is a great reminder of a life serving Christ.
In the past several months, I have outlined my strategic plan for the foreseeable future – Stay Calm, Stay Connected, and this month – Stay the Course. This Psalm promises us blessing when we Stay the Course!
And our course is clear – to make disciples for the transformation of the world. We define “Disciples” as the Bishop has done “To be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve”. We have our marching orders!
Many are concerned about what is going on in the denomination and what might be changing; but the mission remains the same. Our mission is specific to each individual local church – as our Discipline reminds us, the local church is where it is lived out.
Contextually, we may find some differences from church to church, but the basics are the same. Have you tried walking and praying for your community? Have you done the homework to know the people of your community? How are you doing on your church’s course? How are the disciples learning? How are the disciples serving others? And how are the disciples of your church influencing others, so that more may know every day a life with Christ?
We have many resources that the District can equip your church with to do this work and answer these questions – demographic studies, prayer walking classes, and “How to Connect” classes for example. Please know that we desire to walk alongside the churches of our District as we all seek to “Stay the Course” together, in the name of the One who sends us.