Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Risky Business..

Every year certain phrases or words tend to emerge as the 'in' words for Conference. This year there are several contenders..
'The Team' features quite prominently, quite rightly too as we need to get to know who they are.
'Strategic leadership' had quite a field day on Monday, but was seldom heard yesterday.
'Mission' is doing quite well.. rumbling away in the background every day so far
'the Future' is obviously something the Conference is interested in
'Mapping a way forward' surged forward in the popularity stakes yesterday - mainly due I think to one particular notice of motion - and 'Fresh Expressions' - last years key contender - is back for another bite of the cherry.
By far the most popular repeated word so far however, is I think 'risk'.

All of which illustrates that the newly configured Connexional Team have done, and are doing far better than might be immediately obvious from the Conference Agenda...

If these are the words that are on our lips when engaging with the business of Conference, then the task of stimulating the Methodist people by the Team by means of strategic leadership to think about mission for the future, and how to map a way forward which encourages fresh expressions of Church and leadership, regardless of the risk.. is being well done.
Hats off to The Team - a job being well done in spite of some painful teething problems..
Our language makes it clear that they have made a great start at delivering what was promised against ridiculous timescales and, as we have heard, often appalling conditions.

Take a bow Team - its well deserved.

Now its the turn of the Whole Church..

The words that I miss being top of the poll are - Jesus, God, Spirit, theology, Salvation, Scripture, Christian, Perfection (an oldie but a goody) Grace, Wesley..

Whilst the team can stimulate the Church's thinking, the relatively low frequency of these words from our lips (other than in superb choices of hymns and prayers - thank you) suggests that we may be in danger of forgetting what we are doing all this FOR
FOR WHAT PURPOSE has the Church implemented a layer of Strategic Leadership?
WHAT is our Mission?
WHOSE future are we concerned for?
WHY do we need to Map a way forward?
WHAT is the POINT of fresh expressions?
WHOSE risk?

The task of the team is to make sure we can achieve our calling by holding us to our agreed priorities, But we also have to make sure we keep focused on what the Priorities are FOR..
The priorities are not the end, they are a means to the end - and the end is not even 'our calling' it is GOD.
We have to find a way of communicating this more effectively so that we become increasingly less concerned with the HOW and more concerned with the WHAT of our proclamation.

The team are demonstrating that the Church can trust them with the how, they are working flat out to ensure that the Church is able - should it choose to - to proclaim and affirm the love of God in Christ.
Which begs the question.. 'When we cannot blame our failures on a lack of resources, on a lack of support, or a lack of information or commitment - who or what will we blame for our failure to keep our end of the bargain?'

The challenge comes back to the full Connexion - we have been, and are now increasingly being given the means to fulfill our calling - will we?

Do have we the heart, the will and the conviction to save souls and make new disciples of Jesus Christ?
Will we open the Scriptures to the world so that all people are able to hear and respond to the offer of God's grace which they reveal?
Moved by the Spirit will we actually take the risk of making ourselves 'yet more vile' as Wesley said, and proclaim the love of God for all through our commitment and action for social justice?
Do we still know enough of our theology to not just sing new hymns but to remember our calling and use all our worship to the Glory of God and to accept it as a means of grace so that we might grow in holiness and press on to that perfection promised us in Christ?

It is time to talk of God..
Will we?

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, you ask "Do have we the heart, the will and the conviction to save souls and make new disciples of Jesus Christ?"

    I pray that we do, and if we do then we must seek God's kingdom first, hungering for the Spirits fire amongst us... then the team will be effective and mission will fall into place...

    Come Holy Spirit!!!