2016 Gathering of Senior Pastors of Large Churches

2016 Gathering of Senior Pastors of Large Churches

April 07, 2016

The Rev. Mike Janes lead pastor of Christ Church in Davenport and Rev. James Parks lead pastor of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Williamsburg Iowa attend the Gathering of Large Church Pastors on March 31, 2016 at Ankeny First United Methodist Church.

Warm smiles, laughter, hallelujahs and amens filled Ankeny First United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall as Bishop Julius C. Trimble delivered his robust sermon, “Preaching Good News in a Bad News World.” The crowd of lead and senior pastors of large Iowa United Methodist churches have gathered for a day of fellowship and connection on a chilly March morning.

“As a Bishop, it’s critical for me to provide pastors with a day where I and their colleagues who face all the same challenges, can support and encourage them,” Bishop Trimble explains.

Rev. Harlan Gillespie and members of the Bishop’s Cabinet spoke on staffing and leadership needs in large churches and how to effectively implement the Strategic Priorities.

The Rev. Barrie Tritle from the Bishop’s Operating Team presented a progress report on the Healthy Conference Initiative and Spiritual Leadership Inc., but the stand-out reason for the day was in Bishop Trimble’s message.

Thank You

“There is nothing more important that I will say today than thank you. Thank you for answering God’s call,” proclaims Bishop Trimble as he addresses the pastors. “We [as pastors] are always telling the people how God loves them, but God LOVES the preachers and pastors. I thank God for you.”

“So what have we been called to do? We have been called to preach the good news in a bad news world. I don’t have to tell you about the bad news,” asserts Bishop Trimble. Pastors don’t have to look very far—it comes to them daily in a constant stream.

“What is the good news we need to hear to be a good minister?” he asks the crowd. “Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.”

 “Jesus,” he repeats, “was rigorously inclusive and fiercely non-partisan.”

Bishop Trimble asks the pastors to preach the good news the same as Jesus, being mindful that they have been given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. Preach a message that: 

•  does not tolerate violence or celebrate meanness,
•  calls out the arrogance of power and a shameful body of politics that allows millions to be spent advertising the flaws and failures of would-be public servants,
•  translates to the poor as living wage,
•  includes a better government that does not tolerate lead poisoned water, and
•  lets children know that they can find a voice and a champion in the church. 

Bishop Trimble concluded his sermon by saying when the delegates elected to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church convene, they will be coming back to a state where 170,000 United Methodists in every single county in Iowa still need to hear the good news in a bad news world.

“I am going to be preaching the good news,” he says. “I am going to let everybody else take care of the bad because, at the end of the day, God reigns. At the end of the day, Jesus is Lord. I am going to preach good news so that Christ’s love is magnified, our souls are sanctified, our church is edified, Satan is terrified, and our God is glorified. Amen.”