Invitation to ‘something bigger than ourselves’

Invitation to ‘something bigger than ourselves’

May 23, 2017

“We, who are called United Methodists, come together as partners with God and each other claiming a shared mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ.”  That belief, shared by the Appointive Cabinet of the Iowa Conference, invites the 767 communities of faith into local, regional, and global shared ministry, that empowers local churches to be “part of something bigger than themselves.”
 
As an example, the Cabinet notes, “no matter how large, [no one congregation] can build health clinics that are reaching thousands of women and children. It takes an entire United Methodist connection to support a hundred health workers, over a thousand missionaries, advocates for women and children, ministries that address the needs of refugees and immigrants, and support for creating new faith communities for new people.”
 
How do such difference-making, life-changing outreach happen?  The more than 158,000 United Methodists of Iowa, joining with others from among the 12.2 million member United Methodist Church, merge individual gifts “into a larger amount of money and services, we have been able to effect change around the world where the poor, the outcasts, the lost, the immigrants, the sick, the wounded, and the hurting are finding their way to the abundant love of God and love of their neighbors.”  Such common commitment and shared giving make it possible for every Iowa United Methodist “to participate in our generosity to God and to God’s world together” because, after all, “this who we are as United Methodist people.”
 
Something bigger than ourselves

In the invitation to “Something Bigger than Ourselves,” the Appointive Cabinet notes several realities.  Some communities are experiencing population declines and some congregations have fewer members.  In addition, “there are generational shifts in perception of and involvement with the church.”  In the midst of “our work together [that]is shaped by the mandate of the Gospel to love God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” there is also another reality – “Unfortunately, there are clergy, laity, and local churches who are finding themselves naming theological differences and biblical interpretations as foundational to the perspective on apportioned giving.”
 
The diversity that challenges the church brings with it the inevitable tensions.  “One of the challenges we are facing is the “mistrust” from our clergy, laity, and congregations who are needing a better way of communicating how apportionments are spent and a greater accountability from those who are entrusted to make decisions on priorities, ministries, and funding.”  In response, the Appointive Cabinet is renewing its commitment “to support and interpret our shared mission through apportionments” and simultaneously invites “pastors and congregations to renew their commitment to support apportionments with prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness for the sake of our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
 
The Appointive Cabinet celebrates what United Methodists have contributed to God’s work in the world” and invites all Iowa United Methdoists to believe, as do the eight superintendents and Resident Bishop, that “God has the power to provide us with more than enough of every kind of grace and that we have everything we need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8 CEB).
Click here to read the full statement from the Appointive Cabinet