By Phil Carver*
“Bless God in the great congregation,” Psalm 68:26 proclaims. Since ancient days faithful people have come together (congregated) to honor God through worship and service.
As United Methodist Iowans we have embraced a mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We are developing a vision statement, a picture of what we hope to more fully become that recognizes the importance of coming together to achieve our mission. Consider this vision: Congregations Cultivating Disciples and Transforming the World.
Congregations may be established churches, new Bible study groups, curious seekers who meet to talk about life’s questions, or a mission team of young people helping to clean up after a natural disaster. Essentially, congregations are any people who gather together to deepen their spiritual walk with God and participate in God’s acts of renewal, large and small.
Cultivating is a term familiar to our agricultural economy in Iowa. One dictionary defines it as “improving growth by labor and attention.” We know that we must focus to get the growth results we desire.
Disciples are persons who seek to live as Jesus did, following his teaching and living by his example.
Transforming reminds us that change is inevitable in a faithful walk with God. Just as a chrysalis grows into a butterfly, both those who serve and those who are being served find new life in Christ’s saving grace.
The World is the final element of our shared vision. We are called to go into the communities around us, near and far, to share God’s love and transforming power in a world that so desperately longs for healing and wholeness.
We invite you to pray over this vision statement and talk about it with other leaders. What do you think? Does this vision express our hope for the future as United Methodist people? Let us “bless God in the great congregation!”
*Phil Carver is the Field Outreach Minister for the Southeast District.