At a recent staff meeting, the fine folks I get to work with were reflecting on meaningful experiences they have had while in the employ of the FMCIC. One of the things that kept popping up on people’s lists was General Conference. It’s a lot of work for the staff, so I was curious to hear what they valued so much about it all. There were two major answers that I think have applications to all of us and to our churches.
- It was a chance to connect with people. Over and over the staff talked about how General Conference was a chance to meet folks that they had talked to over the phone. It’s a chance to put a face to a name that they prayed for during staff prayer times. It’s a chance to connect with old friends. A chance to hear follow up reports from folks that they have gotten to serve over the years. Those opportunities to connect with pastors, church leaders, delegates and their spouses, help to make all the work worthwhile.
For those of us who get to attend GC2020, this should serve as a reminder. I know it’s a year away, but I hope as we think, pray and prepare, we remember this is about more than showing up at some meetings. It’s a chance to meet with, pray with, worship with and connect with folks that we serve alongside in the FMCIC world. Get ready to connect with old friends and be on the lookout to make new ones. Don’t sneak in at the last minute and scurry out as soon as things end. Linger. Connect. Share. It will make the event better.
For our churches, this should serve as a reminder as we work towards being as healthy as we can be. Part of what we are called to as a church is fellowship. Not just to show up and put in time. Not just to serve to get a task done and definitely not just solely be concerned with what is happening in your own church. We are called to be community. Family (of God). Let’s make sure we are opening our homes and lives to each other. Let’s make space to know, pray, love and serve one another and with one another. Let’s make sure we find all kinds of ways to make lasting connection with each other. Healthy churches pay attention to this stuff.
- The other thing the staff mentioned was that GC is a chance for them to see how all the stuff they work on fits into the larger picture. That matters.
And that’s part of the point of GC. To see the bigger picture. To understand how our local church is a part of something larger. To hear what’s happening with the rest of the FMCIC family, and hopefully as we talk about next steps for the FMCIC, it will inspire creative thinking and planning for each local church. Again, if you are coming, begin to pray that God will stir up something in you for your local church’s mission. If you aren’t coming, pray for those who will represent your church. Wouldn’t it be cool if God speaks to us about what’s next in His plan for us?
For the local church, we also need the reminder that what we do when we give and serve and attend and respond is part of something larger. We are part of God’s plan for our communities. Let’s make sure we are thinking and dreaming and praying that way instead of simply worrying about us and what we like. That’s what healthy churches do.
It’s not too early to start thinking and praying about GC and just so you know, we are looking forward to seeing all of you. But we are most excited about what God wants to do in and through your local church the broader FMCIC family.
Director of Leadership Development, the Free Methodist Church in Canada