Created for Connection
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS
REV. JAY HANSON
I (Anne) am a baker. Bread, biscuits, cupcakes, muffins, pastries, scones, cookies… pretty much anything made with flour or sugar! I love the thrill of combining individual ordinary ingredients to create something amazing and delicious that brings others joy. Interestingly enough, when someone comments on something I’ve made they never remark on the tastiness of the baking powder, the texture of the eggs, or the deliciousness of the flour. They comment on the product as a whole – the end result of individual ingredients each enhancing and enriching each other.
Each year at Annual Conference, I’m reminded of the benefits of being in a connectional system and the importance of looking at each church and each leader in terms of what they contribute to the nature of the church worldwide. Each of us was created with a unique set of gifts and abilities – not to use for our own purpose and glory, but to use within the church for God’s glory.
In the same way, each congregation has been given a unique assignment to reach people for Christ in their specific context and setting. In even broader terms, the United Methodist denomination has been gifted with the ability to reach specific people around the globe as we spread the news of the Gospel to the ends of the earth and grow the church. It’s only when these individual elements work together, one relying on the other and one enhancing the other, that we can experience the beauty of the impact God’s church can have on a broken and dying world.
Individually congregants, leaders, and congregations might be tempted to think they have the ability to do things on their own – to independently fulfill God’s purpose without contributing to the church as a whole. The truth is, independently each of us can only have a small marginal effect, and by relying on our own abilities and capabilities we become our own limiting factor. However, when we work in cooperation with other congregants, leaders, and congregations for the good of the Kingdom, our efforts are multiplied and we bear more fruit than we could ever have imagined on our own!
So how can we live more fully into the model of a connectional church? Consider these four powerful choices that we can make to benefit the church as a whole:
1. Love Fully
Colossians 3:14 says, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Love is the secret ingredient that binds all the individual elements together – it’s what makes everything work together. Selfless love fosters harmony and unity between individuals. Without love, we are incapable of living a life of connectedness.
2. Live Selflessly
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” As individuals in God’s church, we should not seek to elevate our own importance at the expense of others. Instead, we must look for ways to bring out and enhance the contributions of others as we all work together for His glory.
3. Give Generously
Acts 4:32 says, “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” Everything we have comes from God. He didn’t give us our blessings so we would individually consume them at the expense of others – He gave them to us so we would bless others. What if each of us saw the resources we had been given as provision for the church and world as a whole?
4. Worship Regularly
Romans 15:6 says, “That together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Individual worship certainly brings glory to the Father but the act of diverse individuals coming together in unity brings glory to Him as well. Look around the worldwide church and seek out new ways to connect with God in worship. Set aside your personal preferences and be willing to see corporate worship as a means to bring praise to God through our oneness. Unity in the midst of diversity glorifies God and gives the world a taste of Heaven on earth.
We were created for connection. Our United Methodist system was set up to make the most of God through community with each other as we grow the church. Let’s continue to seek out ways to come together and become the church we were created to be.
Jay Hanson, Lead Pastor, and Anne Bosarge, Multi-Campus Director, serve at The Chapel Ministries in Brunswick. They love sharing about the ways God is moving in their church. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for more information.