“Certainly, I will go with you ...” Judges 4:9
Dear friends ~
This past Annual Conference marked my twenty-fifth. Over the years, I have participated in many different capacities: clergy spouse, church staff, certified candidate, provisional elder, full elder, and now as a district superintendent/cabinet member. I have felt the Holy Spirit on many occasions knowing that I was experiencing a holy moment that I would remember.
On the last morning of this year’s gathering as Bishop Carter “set the appointments” and I knelt for blessing and prayer, it was one of these holy moments where I felt the presence of God. I was reminded of my message at my first clergy gathering in October 2019. That day, I shared the Old Testament story of the judge Deborah, and Barak. They were preparing for battle against the well-armed Canaanites and fear gripped her general. Deborah encouraged Barak to move forward. In an honest and transparent moment, Barak said:
“If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go” (Judges 4:8)
I understand Barak’s hesitancy. We know that in life’s hardest moments, being together makes all the difference. Deborah’s response was:
“Certainly, I will go with you ...” Judges 4:9.
When I shared this story in October 2019, this is what I said to our pastors:
“Friends, that is my personal vision for this season of ministry as I step into leading the Atlantic Central District. I want to be the kind of leader that comes alongside you and your church to take the next best faithful step forward in mission. I know that will mean something different for each of you and for each setting ...”
This year, while kneeling on the last morning, I recommitted to that promise. We are in a hard season in The United Methodist Church. We have disagreements. And at the same time, we agree on much. Over the last three years, I have experienced failure and successes in keeping this commitment. But at Annual Conference this year, I recommitted to that promise.
I invite you to be a part of the annual Fall Charge/Church Conferences at your local church. If you attend, there will be some time for questions. Ask your pastor when yours is scheduled. This is a time to lean into conversation, respecting all points of view, praying that God will continue to lead our denomination and your local church.
At one of the “Future of the UMC” District Gatherings this past April, I quoted Bishop Carter saying:
“For some, this isn’t enough [presentation didn’t go far enough, was inadequate, frustrating, etc.]
and for others, this is too much [same sentiments just from another perspective].”
When I said that, people chuckled. But even in that, my commitment is coming alongside you and your church to take the next best faithful step in mission. I have learned and embraced a while ago that “I see through a mirror dimly,” as the Apostle Paul reminded us in I Corinthians. And God will work way beyond my understanding of our faith ... thank God!
If you would like to have a conversation, please reach out to my office at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can schedule a conversation. Please join me in praying that the peace of Christ which surpasses all human understanding will surround you today, this week, and this month +
Grace and peace ~
Lay Servant Ministry Courses
Please share this information with your congregation and those in your church who may need to take an advanced course to renew their Lay Servant Ministry status at your Annual Church/Charge Conference.
Here is the link for more details and to register: https://www.flumc.org/aclayservantministry
- Sebastian UMC l August 5 and 6, 2022 l Basic and Advance Courses
- Tomoka UMC l September 9 and 10, 2022 l Basic and Advance Courses
If you have anyone that would prefer an online course, the link to the 'Be A Disciple' website is at the link above.
If you or someone at your church has questions about what is needed for renewal, please contact Kathy Megerle, AC District Lay Servant Ministry Director, at email@example.com
The Renfro grant is for the purpose of establishing and supporting United Methodist churches in rural areas of the United States within the Southeastern Jurisdiction. The term “rural areas” shall be interpreted to mean towns of less than 10,000, villages, and open country. The maximum amount for each grant shall be $5,000.00. For more information, guidelines, and application visit www.sejumc.org/renfrotrustfund
Applications should be sent to the attention of Icel Rodriguez, Global Missions director, at the Florida Conference Center by August 15.
Other grant information and details are available on the FLUMC website at: https://www.flumc.org/grant-application-guidelines