Warm New Year Greetings! As we begin 2019, I invite Davis Street UMC for an exciting fresh start or a new beginning in terms of re-committing of our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and championing these three important aspects in our life together.
Focus on the Mission of God
The church is not about us! Rather, the church is about the mission of God to redeem a broken and a hurting world. Our driving force is to participate in God’s action to the community and beyond. “Where do we see God at work in and around Davis Street UMC and how do we participate to what God is already doing in our community?” We are called to focus on the mission of God (mission-centric) to the community as embodied in our church mission statement: “To reach out and connect with all people, making disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Embrace Disruptive Innovation
In the 18th century, John Wesley sought to renew the Church of England through disruptive spiritual practices and sacramental experience in churches. These new practices and experiences took place in bands (most often four people of the same gender and similar spiritual maturity), classes (12 or so people of mixed gender and spiritual maturity) and societies (40 or more people who came together to interpret Scripture, sing hymns, pray and share testimonies). All of these groups were often led by laity. And they proved to be disruptive innovation, as Methodism ultimately separated from Anglicanism in Great Britain and in the United States.
Therefore, disruptive innovation is critical for Davis Street UMC to accomplish its mission in the 21st century. We need to shift our default mindsets beyond the stereotypical congregation to envision new ways of gathering as God’s people. We must explore the many ways in which this disruptive innovation can be a force for renewal, a sign of the Spirit’s fresh wind blowing to offer revival and renewal for the church.
Be the Church for All People
When we focus on the mission of God and embrace disruptive innovations, we become more and more of “a church for all people’. This means that we are becoming more and more of an inclusive community where all people are received with hospitality, find hope, experience God’s Divine economy of abundance, and are transformed through Jesus Christ. We give our love and offer the saving, healing love of Jesus Christ to everyone, no matter who they are or what they have done.
As we serve in partnership with Sustainable Alamance and other community-based ministries, we are tangibly demonstrating God’s love in practical and meaningful ways. We build trust by forming relationships of mutuality and accompaniment. We send the message that God cares deeply about who we are and is intimately involved with our daily struggles and victories.
As we look forward for this New Year, please join with me in praying together: “Lord, as the New Year begins, we humbly come to You and ask for Your blessings. Thank you for Your mission and plans You have for us in this New Year. We pray that Your miracles will continue to break forth everyday at Davis Street and may we not be an obstacle along the way. We pray this in the strong Name of Jesus. Amen.”