As one year ends and another begins it usually offers a good time to reflect on what "has been" and what "could be." Whether you like the resolutions and retrospectives or not, it is a good and healthy thing to occasionally do a personal examination and self assessment.
When I think about myself there are a number of ways to tackle this. First, let me confess that I'm still, very much, a work in progress with a long way to go. A personality profile would tag me as an INTP, or a "mad scientist," or a solitary creative sort of personality. So, no matter how you understand me, and as "my people" would often say of folk, I know I'm a "piece of work."
My life revolves around church and family. I won't get into all the family goodness in this post. Nor will I talk about hobby and great interest in heirloom gardening. I'm thinking about my job, and my calling, as it "played out" last year and as I look forward to another year.
For me, church provides a rhythm of life, a foundation and a challenge, a vehicle for loving God and loving neighbor. The worship, pray, study, and service that I experience in the congregation and in the Church forms the basis for so much of my life. Whether I'm in the church or community this is the core of who I am. At this stage in the journey I know I can't solve all the big issues of the day; I've got my hands full with the few things I am entrusted with related to myself, my job, and my family.
This past year we kept up so many of the good missions that are hallmarks for Trinity on the Hill. We also added some new opportunities. We had a phenomenal Trinity Outreach Celebration in early 2013 as we hosted leaders from the UMC's Global Ministries and mission leaders from The Mission Society in a historic meeting and training event. Our church entered into some new missions as we got involved at Maxwell House Apartments and started tutoring once a week at Olmstead Homes. I had new experiences with time in the Dominican Republic and in Moscow, Russia with outreach partners. I also slipped on the conference coordinator hat for North Georgia annual conference with United Methodist Volunteers In Mission and have met other mission leaders from our conference and the Southeastern Jurisdiction. This has also gotten me more involved with the NGUMC Bridges as we seek to connect every North GA UM congregation with our Methodist brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. All in all, day in and day out, it's been an exciting year.
I'm reminded once again that the call of mission and outreach is NOT for a select few in a church or in a few churches that are large enough or have the passion or calling. Rather, it is the call of any who would follow Christ. There is great joy and challenge in meeting and getting to know Methodist Christians from other parts of the world. There is tremendous opportunity and challenge in meeting our neighbors in our community who live in a different part of town and seem to live in a very different world than we call home.
One of my greatest regrets, as I look back on the last year, is that I can't be satisfied with where we are in mission or with who we've currently got involved in mission. I can celebrate what we have done and who we do have involved, but I want more. I think the task is too great, there are too many relationships to build, and we don't have nearly enough of the gifts of our church involved yet to do what needs to be done.
I need more people than ever from Trinity on the Hill involved in mission. I need more recruiters than ever helping more people into participation and into leadership. I imagine a 2014 where we take some more meaningful steps, or is it leaps and bounds?, into the mission of God here, there, and everywhere.
The Trinity Outreach Celebration will soon be upon us. Please be in prayer for our annual emphasis on mission that is local, national, and international in flavor. In particular, I'm looking for a bigger than normal turnout for our mission education component that will focus on community ministry. This is a national level training event and I just can't stand the thought of any teenagers or adults who are active at Trinity on the Hill missing out on this historic event. Find all the details and registration at the link for 2014 Mission Training.