Friday, May 16, 2008

First things First

Yesterday the group of men and women who will be commissioned and ordained at this Annual Conference met with the bishop. We talked about quite a few things but one statement he made struck home with me particularly.

The bishop said that church shall/will/should not do second mile giving until the first mile is taken care of. At the core, that statement is a no brainer, however from living in the Methodist system now for 6 tears as a pastor I realize that there is much too that statement. In man y ways it goes to the core of who we are as Methodists.

We are in fact a connectional church it is a part of our DNA. When you fellowship with and worship with and become a part of the UMC culture it is vital for you to understand that. Because when we lose our connection or we seek to go another way, we begin to lose our identity.

I am not suggesting that the only way to be a Christian is to be like a Methodist, but what I am suggesting is that the only way to truly be a United Methodist is to be connectional. So back to the second mile giving.

What the bishop was saying, to me at least, was simply this; we need to be out there in the world and making a difference with our gifts, prayers, presence, and witness. However, we need to walk that first mile initially. The first mile includes those Shared Ministries/apportionments.

It is who we are, they are a part of our connection. That money is what helps a little country church in South Jersey make a global impact. I am a Christian because of the love of Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice. I am a Methodist because John Wesley told the story in a way that still resonates with me...the world is OUR parish.

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