Courage During Loss and Rebuilding
“That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, ‘Be encouraged, Paul.
Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem,
you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.”
- Acts 23:11 (NLT)
“The ultimate goal of adaptive change is not to master a pain-free solution
to a pressing problem, it’s to create adaptive capacity: the wisdom, courage,
and resilience within a people to learn and survive the losses necessary
to be transformed and thrive in a changing world”
- Tod Bolsinger, Tempered Resilience, 178.
How do we muster up courage when we have experienced real loss? How do we recapture the vision and energy to move into a new future that has adaptive challenges all around? How do we continue to surrender our best laid plans to the Holy Spirit? How do we hold onto the mission but pivot to a new strategy? Simply, how do we be the Church in our new context?
Perhaps these were some of the questions the Apostle Paul was asking that night when he returned to the fortress to escape harm from his “brothers” in the faith. Paul needed the presence of God and God’s encouragement in order to continue following Jesus. He needed to be reminded of God’s abundant grace and faith in him. That night, God spoke to him at his point of need: “Be encouraged, Paul.”
Here’s the back story: Paul was facing attack from within, and they wanted him dead. They were angry about the success Paul had spreading the Good News of Jesus to the Gentiles. They stirred up many and Luke, the author of Acts, wrote:
“The whole city was rocked by accusations, and a great riot followed” (Acts 21:30)
Into this violent situation, Paul shared his Damascus Road conversion story and call to ministry. But his words only led to the crowd calling for his life, and eventually appearing before the High Council consisting of Pharisees and Sadducees. Things continued to deteriorate quickly and soon the council was divided and became violent to the point that the Roman commander:
“Was afraid they would tear Paul apart, so he ordered his soldiers to go and rescue Paul by force and take him to the fortress” (Acts 23:10)
I cannot imagine how discouraged and depressed Paul was. But it was that night that God showed up. And our God is faithful to do the same for us ... imagine yourself as Paul in that moment ... how does the Lord sound and what is it like to have Him so near? Where do you need God to show up today? How can you encourage someone else this weekend?
In early April, The Atlantic Central District hosted four gatherings, “Thrive: Rebuilding the Local Church," and three informational meetings around the Future of the UMC. A good number of us were in attendance for each gathering. Even during difficult conversations around the challenges we face as the United Methodist Church, it has been good to be present with one another. It was energizing and encouraging to be together at Thrive!
This week, we have another opportunity to gather as an annual conference for “Rebuilding the Church; Remembering the Body.” Will you join me in prayer over the next few days asking that the Holy Spirit would swoop in like that Day of Pentecost and bring us a clear vision and new dreams? We need to rebuild with a new strategy for the future and remember God’s abundant grace. Like Paul, we need the Lord to come close and encourage us to continue sharing the Good News of Jesus. God is faithful to do just that.
Finally, if you have any questions about the future of United Methodism, please do not hesitate to contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org. My work is being present in conversations with clergy and laity so that we can continue to move into the future with Christ! I want to be a source of encouragement for you and your church. May God bless you and thank you for your faithfulness +
Grace and peace ~
Join us in welcoming the Clergy listed below to their new appointment in the Atlantic Central District
- Rev. Steve Carleo - Emmanuel
- Rev. John Frank -First/Faith - Boynton Beach
- Rev. Katie Harrington - Community - Daytona Beach
- Rev. Timothy Jones-Barton - First - Ft. Pierce
- Rev. Michael Pestel - Christ by the Sea - Vero Beach
- Rev. Staci Plonsky - Edgewater
- Rev. Armando Rodriguez - First - Port St. Lucie
- Rev. Debra Thompson - Lakeside - Lake Worth
- Pastor Leo Vollbracht - Lakewood Park
Join us in celebrating the retirements of the following Clergy
- Rev. Donna Blythe - Edgewater
- Rev. David Branson - Lakeside - Lake Worth
- Rev. Brian Carr - First - Port St Lucie
- Rev. Bruce Jones - Christ by the Sea - Vero Beach
- Rev. W. Thomas Pope - Highland Avenue Fellowship - Melbourne
Join us in congratulating the Clergy listed below in their new appointment outside the Atlantic Central District
- Rev. Kolby Golliher - Wesley - Gainesville
- Rev. Matthew White - Edgewater - Port Charlotte
Join us in thanking the following Clergy for their faithful service at an interim appointment
- Rev. Leslie Avchin - Community - Daytona Beach
- Rev. Minnie Bailey - Emmanuel - Melbourne
- Rev. Robert Brown - Covenant - Port Orange
- Rev. Joseph MacLaren - First - Ft. Pierce
The next Lay Servant Ministry Courses will be offered on Friday, July 8 and Saturday, July 9, 2022 at Sebastian UMC in Sebastian, FL.
Courses will be the Lay Servant Ministry Basic Training and the Advanced Course, Justice for Everyday Life.
For details about these courses, visit the AC District Lay Servant Ministry webpage by clicking here.
Contact Kathryn Megerle, Lay Servant Ministries Director for the AC District at email@example.com.