Egad! My Epiphany at  #BWCUMC13


This morning as my act of worship I gave God 5 miles.

I have not been looking forward to this week of meetings, parliamentary procedure and sitting for a looooooong periods of time.  I am a doer, with ADD.  So, after a preconference Saturday in uncomfortably close quarters I didn’t come to Baltimore with the right mindset.  And to be honest, Wednesday night felt like a rehashing of the Saturday session.  So last night, with all of the snark building up inside of me I prayed.

God, I really don’t want to be a bitter annual conference pastor.  I love my job, am proud of my church and am amazed at what YOU are doing.  Help me with my frustration…

So this morning I gave God 5 miles of prayer around the inner harbor.  This is a practice I began around the area of Faithpoint, continue around my wife’s church in Brunswick and thought why not in Baltimore.

I prayed for the school groups going to the aquarium, the people entering the hotel for annual conference, those without a home still sleeping on the benches, those who love on the water, the local businesses, the jobs lost while passing buildings no longer in use, the parents with kids in strollers, the business men and women, those struggling with addiction as I ran past pill bottles, and used needles, for the Church universal, and many other things.

I gave God 5 miles and I was given a reminder of why we are gathering this week.  Pastor Mike Slaughter reminds his congregation that we cannot confuse the menu (the Bible) for the meal (the Good news of Christ).  While running and praying, I was able to see the need this morning. I was able to connect and be reminded of the real reason we meet and gather in this time of holy conferencing. I would hope that we are reminded that the mission of the chuch is to make disciples and not resolutions in the next few days. Let us not confuse the building of the kingdom (the mission of disciple making) with the blueprint (the discipline, resolutions….).

This being siad. I am not programmed to sit in chairs and pay attention for hours on end.  My kids are built the same way.  I thank God for those who are programmed to have the conversations and make the policy and craft the blueprints that will equip the church for the transformation of the world. I realize I am not one of these, but i am excited to swing the hammer and put up the framework to make add an addition to the kingdom.

My epiphany: I need to encounter the front lines of ministry before each time we come together for holy conferencing. I need to be reminded of why we need the blueprints so that we can more effectively go out to be faithful stewards of those who have been given to our care.

Pairing down to beef up

The other dad  I was talking to my dad about McDonald’s reporting  the first quarterly loss ever in the company’s history.  We were talking about the number of menu items the fast food giant had and it is over can you quickly serve up edible food when there are that many items?
The next day I ran into the local McDonald’s and got some iced coffee.   There i saw that a number of items were no longer available  there were stickers over a number of items on the picture menus and other items were no longer offered.

Right now I am sitting at the annual meeting of the Methodist chuch in the Maryland area.   I hear and see lots of stuff.  Everyone congregation wants a young adult ministry everyone wants to feed the poor.   All of these are good but what is the cost.  I can’t help but think that that if the individual churches focus and pair down what they are great at, and remember we are connectional, we can together make a lasting impact in the lives of our communities.