The Cup is more than half full
By Gil Hanke
As many of you know, I spent most of my adult life in Texas, and for 30 years I have been a delegate to Houston Area Annual Conference.
So––as many of you––I recently attended my annual conference. I also attempt to piggyback as much as I can when I travel, both personally and professionally. So when a pastor friend of mine invited me to preach at his church the Sunday of our conference, I jumped at the chance.
This is not a typical UMC. The 136-year-old congregation is debt free, filled with young families and growing at an amazing rate.
After the service I met with the men for a few minutes, and then we all went outside to watch a balloon release for Pentecost. When I re-entered the church to get my stuff, the men had reassembled to make some plans based ideas that had come from our worship that morning. They are clearly “on the grow.”
Two of the most impressive sermons at annual conference were given by a gifted young candidate for ministry and by a joy-filled pastor entering her retirement.
Some of the mechanics of the conference sessions were challenged by floods in Houston, but grace prevailed and this room full of leaders showed flexibility.
We had an unusually high number of resolutions, but they too were managed with grace. For our conference, this was a voting year, and when the delegation met for breakfast on the last day of conference, the group had many new faces and was slightly younger than our last delegation. Four of the delegation members serve the church outside the state of Texas.
Were there concerns and disappointments? Sure, and I spent time with friends whose most loved ministry has morphed into something less than it should be. But even in that, God is being trusted for my friends to do something even better and greater.
Maybe things went well because I wanted to see growth and excitement. Maybe things went well because I chose to look for things to celebrate. Maybe I’m delusional. I know that this is not a perfect conference or a perfect church, but as you have heard me say before, I get to see this church at its best and at its worst. I choose to look for the best, and work my hardest to turn problems areas around.
How about you?
What is the greatest blessing you see in your church this week? How are you going to celebrate that? Who are you going to tell inside your church and more importantly outside your church?
What will you do this week to make the church even better?
Striving to serve
Gil Hanke, general secretary
General Commission on United Methodist Men
Editor’s Note: This is the sixth time Gil has been elected as a delegate to General Conference.