Being free is an opportunity, a command, an invitation, an experience, a responsibility, a promise and what we celebrate in Christ. Jesus-freedom is both about being free from and being free for. The from list includes: power over sin, hell, prevailing culture, bad habits, wrong thinking, hurts, fear, loneliness, shame, and everything else that doesn’t belong in or on you. The for list is everything you and your neighbours long for: hope, love, purpose, meaning, belonging, awareness, joy… I mean the for list is eternally thick and rich and deep and eternal!
At General Conference we will lean into our freedom in Christ, which is beautifully represented in our proposed new “Guiding Principles”: these are the guiding principles of the original Free Methodist movement but translated into 2020! The Board of Administration worked on these, then Study Commission on Doctrine, then BOA again, then we introduced you to them at Regional Gatherings (where they were very well received), then back to a BOA sub-committee to include all the input we received at Regional Gatherings, and then to the BOA, before they are released to you again prior to GC. I was pleasantly surprised to discover while I was with the FMUSA General Conference that they have done a very similar thing with the FREES.
Back to GC. There is a pre-conference prayer event on the Thursday evening to Friday lunch (there is limited space, so you’ll want to register early). The National Prayer Team is hoping that your churches will budget for your Prayer Point Persons to attend. GC will officially start Friday after lunch. At this GC we will integrate business throughout, so it will be especially important for pastors and delegates to come prepared having asked all their clarifying questions about the recommendations they will have received well in advance. On Friday night we have invited First Nations scholar and teacher Terry LeBlanc to speak. The question we are asking is ‘how should our freedom in Christ impact our relationships with First Nations people?’ On Friday a worship team from Quebec will usher us into His presence. On Saturday morning we have invited the world’s first female Free Methodist bishop, Linda Adams to speak. A worship team from our churches in the West will help us celebrate our God. Finally on Sunday a team from host Ontario will lead our worship service. GC officially ends after Sunday service. Of course there will be a luncheon for our recently retired pastors.
I am asking you to create initiatives within your church family to prepare for GC 2020. Delegates and pastors review the materials that you are sent. Bring it to your boards to discuss. PRAYER: set dates and times to fast and pray for GC – why not start soon?!