Will you take it personally?
By Gil Hanke
I had an interesting conversation this morning with the deployed staff. It was a conversation that continued in my head long after the e-meeting was over.
The conversation began with a discussion of the mission statement of the UMC: “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” What appeared to us to be missing is the “who” in the statement. The simple answer is “The United Methodist Church.” So, as Dr. Phil likes to ask, “How is that working for us?”
In the midst of decline, there are some areas of growth.
What makes the difference?
A contributing factor to success is when we the mission statement is taken personally.
I am reminded of the words of a great hymn, “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me o Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” The hymn goes on to point out that it’s not my brother, sister, preacher, deacon, father or mother––it’s me.
Not only are we personally in need of prayer, but if we are on the road to discipleship, our task––no, my task is to disciple others.
We wonder why our church is losing members or losing folks who attend worship, or have dwindling Sunday school participation. But, we have to look in the mirror and ask, “What am I doing about it?” If you are a disciple, you are to be a fisher for other people. When fishing, you don’t catch one with every cast, but you’ll never catch any if you never cast a line.
There is a decline in some of our churches because only a very small percentage of people invite others to visit their churches.
What is keeping you from inviting someone this week to church? The worst thing that can happen is they say, “No,”
That will not be a new experience for you.
It would be more appropriate if we interpret the mission statement to read, “With God’s help, I will make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world this week.”
Or, maybe we could adapt Jesus’ invitation: “With God’s help, I will fish for others this week.”
We can’t wait. Lives are at stake, and families are at stake.
Don’t be embarrassed and don’t be obnoxious; simply be honest. If you found a great restaurant you would tell others about it. Why not do the same for a great place that brings you peace, joy, and salvation? It is your job….. and mine.
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on United Methodist Men