The South Carolina United Methodist Church’s Annual Conference meeting began yesterday. It is scheduled to conclude Thursday. There’s an extra day this year because the laity and clergy are each electing 8 delegates to represent our Conference at the 2020 General Conference. That added work extends the sessions. It also tends to put people on edge.
Elections, by design, create winners and losers. 16 people will “win” and whoever else wanted to be elected or was willing to be elected will “lose.” That’s the nature of it, but it doesn’t have to be the spirit of it.
Jesus prayed that his disciples (including us) will be one (John 17:20-26). Even when some are discerned to be that year’s delegates and others are not (or fill in the blank with whatever type of election we have around churches – the chairs of committees, the ministry teams’ and Council’s decisions about how to minister together), the goal is to follow the Spirit’s guidance toward a more faithful ministry together. Together.
We are called to represent Jesus together. We called to serve Jesus together. We are called to love Jesus together.
He prayed that we’ll be one and we get the closest to his prayer being answered when we make following him, loving God, and loving neighbor our primary interests.
Jesus modeled praying for us. We do well to pray for one another. Whether you are able to make it to Greenville or not today for Johnny Crouch’s licensing for ministry or Rev. Meg Jiunnies’ ordination, I invite you to pray for them. Give thanks for the significant work they’ve done to reach this moment in their lives. Give thanks for the support that you and others have shown them. Give thanks for the calling God has placed on their lives and their willingness to respond. Pray for Meg, Johnny, and all those giving themselves over the ministry for Christ and his church.