Often the end of the year brings time for reflection and a recap of the biggest news. I'm thinking about mission and outreach today. How have you experienced the Kingdom of God this year? For me, this has local to international implications. I'll list a quick synopsis as so much has already been written on most of these topics throughout the year.
Here are my 6 mission highlights of the year:
Churches continue to refine, redefine, right size as it seems we are ending a chapter in U.S. Christianity and entering into a new era. This offers both impact and potential for churches in mission. How will this play out as the Baby Boomer generation continues aging and what opportunities are there for the next generations?
US discussions and action related to race. Many communities are at a boiling point in race relations. Rather than sides being drawn how might the church offer a way forward? How is the church part of the solution in community building? What next steps might you take in relationship building, and community building, which will create the community everyone deserves?
Ebola- this has been a significant story this year and still continues. What is the short term and long term impact? What have we learned?
UMC Global Ministries announced a new direction which will reshape their missions and ministries. This story will continue to unfold in 2015-2016 as the global nature of the UMC will be even more reflected in the structure.
Congregations in Mission- whether small church or large, inner city or rural, the community of faith is called to follow in the way of Christ as we participate in the Missio Dei and respond to the Holy Spirit today. Unfortunately, many congregations have become distant from their community and this generation. How can your church share true Good News in word and deed in your own community in ways which match your time and place?
I took on a new job in mission as I work with my annual conference and GBGM! This has me available for congregations across the UMC to assist with mission celebrations (look for update on this link soon!) and a strategy of mission that will launch your church into the next year of service. In the NGUMC I'm available to help with mission at the local, regional/national, and international level for networking, assessment, coaching, equipping, etc. For NGUMC I have special focus on Bridges in order to have at least 50 churches on every Bridge as we partner better for greater transformational impact.
OK, I know that last one isn't on the same scale as the others, but my work does have direct connection to all of these biggest stories. And so does your mission and ministry! 2015 will offer us even more opportunities to work together as we become part of the biggest stories lived out in our time. The global, connectional nature of The United Methodist Church gives us the vehicle we need to be part of this ongoing drama of redemptive service in our time.
What are your mission highlights from the last year? What are you anticipating in 2015 as you serve in the Mission of God?