· Leadership Development, Church Renewal

Where is our attention?

By Gil Hanke

Recently my wife and I received an upgrade on our cable T.V. The upgrade came with new equipment and a 3-step set of instructions.

This became an ordeal, as one piece of the equipment did not communicate with the others. The company sent us new equipment, but the same issue continued.

I sent a text to the company saying I was ready to give up. A technician replied: “Please do not give up; I will give you all my attention to this problem.”

The problem was solved a few minutes later.

Some of the statistics for local churches are scary. There is a disconnect between a large portion of the population who have no relationship with Christ and churches with shrinking congregations.

There is a disconnect between churches who focus only on their members while there are people within 200 yards of the church who are in need.

I am not suggesting that the revival of the UMC can be achieved by following three simple steps. What I am suggesting is that we not give up, but give all our collective attention to the core value of our faith.

There is not a magic bullet or a pill of all wisdom and knowledge. There is no single solution for every church in our connection. But, we need to take a serious look at all the commands Jesus gave his disciples. There only two: “Love God with everything you’ve got”; and “Love everybody else.”

I have a feeling that the technician with whom I was texting was helping several other customers, and when he or she realized I was giving up, the technician concentrated on just one customer and one issue.

Here are the lessons I learned from that technician and from God.

With all the noise, seek silence. Read the part of Matthew about worrying about the future.

Concentrate on the task at hand. Is your church making disciples in a systematic manner? If the answer is not a resounding “yes,” then that is a good starting place.

We have resources that will enable you and your church to answer that key question with a resounding “yes.”

What ways you are showing your love of God by loving your neighbor? Need some clear measurable local mission ideas? Do you want to see what is working in other areas in churches like yours? We have examples and resources in this area as well.

What happens when you bring this up to the pastor and to the church, and they say, “Sounds like you need to lead us in all this.” We have leadership training available for you as well.

Here is what we cannot do. We cannot wait.

There are multiple examples in the Bible of people ––not acting ––waiting too long, and ––knowing what to do but not doing it.

Wesley stated we have just three general rules, one is a negative, and the other two are actions. “Do no harm,” “Do good (or as I like to say ‘for God’s sake do something’)” and “Stay in love with God by practicing the ordinances of God.”

Focus on the main thing, and remember, “You can’t make a disciple if you are not one. You can’t sell what you didn’t buy.”

We stand ready to help you and your church. Don’t wait to act; claim a future of active discipleship and mission.

Still striving.

Gil Hanke, general secretary

General Commission on UM Men



Back to News Articles