Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Joining a Ministry, already in progress

2 Kings 2:13- He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.

When I was commissioned for ministry at this past Annual Conference, I had the great privilege of participating in the passing of the mantle ceremony. In it, a retiring elder and I kneeled in front of the gathered congregation as the bishop gave the mantle to the elder who then placed it on my shoulders. This signified that the responsibility for ministry had passed from one generation of clergy to the next.

Considered in isolation, receiving this mantle could imply a tremendous burden. Generations of clergy have taken up the cause of Christ, who am I to declare that I am ready to follow in their footsteps? We know that for a number of years many congregations have been in numerical decline, who am I to think I can reverse that? However, these are exactly the wrong questions. If I see ministry as some lone endeavor, I’ve already started down the wrong path. The ministry we will do at Independence is not dependent on me, but is shaped by God and built on the hard work of the generations that have come before.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Work-Mission trip to Boonville, NY. I was able to join with a ministry that had begun 14 years prior by Pastor Jan Yandell and has been continued with lay leadership in many of the years since. By joining in with ministry that was already in progress, I had the opportunity to witness the healing that youth in our congregation and others were accomplishing. With every house painted, ramp built, tear shed and laughter shared, we were able to move the world one step closer to the Kingdom of God of which Jesus spoke.

As we enter into this new phase of ministry, let us all come together and build upon the work of previous generations. Let us dream anew about the work we may accomplish in this community. Let us listen to the Spirit, so that we might join in with the work of God…already in progress.

No comments:

Post a Comment