Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Older I Get

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgThe older I get, the more I want to jettison the things in my ministry that are not about kingdom work. Recently in my devotions I was listening to a podcast that reminded me to think about the differences between the things that are essential and the things that are cultural or habit. For instance, to worship God is essential. The style of our worship is cultural.

Old patterns of doing things may have worked in ages past, and some may still work today, but the way we do things is not the essential element. The older I get the more I want to focus on the essential. How about you?

We must be more concerned with kingdom work than the survival of an old method, process, or institution. We cannot fall in love with the structure and allow it keep us from being as impactful as possible in our kingdom work. Time just does not allow it.

When we started our season of ministry together one of the first things I mentioned was I was more concerned as a pastor with us doing kingdom work than with the survival of our church setting. I would rather close this location of the church, doing kingdom work as we go, than have the location survive, at the cost of kingdom work. I tried to say that as clearly as possible. The institution can survive while doing kingdom work, but the focus needs to be on the kingdom work, not survival. Does that make sense?

This brings me to the point I wanted to write today and will write about again. Did you know that within a few miles of FUMCL there are as many as ten other United Methodist Churches? That was amazing to me when I did the research online. I began to look at each church and ask the question – why so many with so little connection? We call ourselves a connectional church, yet, within a few miles there are essentially ten congregations of the same denomination (I’m sure I would be floored by the total number of Christian churches within a few miles of FUMCL) with very little contact or connection.

I have had conversations with some pastors about how we can connect. I have also had conversations with denominational leaders around this subject.

There is a variety of ways to connect. We can share some ministries, some resources, and staff. We can officially connect or informally connect. We can share our calendars. Just think what could be accomplished for the kingdom with over 2,000 United Methodists working together in this area verses each individual church location trying to do things alone.

What tends to be the roadblock to connectional ministries in some cases is the sense of independence at each location. Whether they have a worshiping body of 20 or 400, each location of the church has some sense of autonomy and the survival of their location becomes more important than the kingdom work that can be accomplished together.

Pray with me that we would focus more on kingdom work and ask the question – how can our location and other resources be best used for the kingdom rather than – what can we do to survive!

In future devotional thoughts I will write about ways we can connect in a more concrete way. Maybe you have some ideas you could send me as fodder for future articles. God bless you!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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September 30, 2014 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , ,

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