Living in Acts 2

8/2/2006

 

Gleanings

By Bishop Hope Morgan Ward

 

Every congregation in the Mississippi Conference – all 1,142 of our local churches – will have the opportunity for helpful conversation as we move toward the season of connection, of charge conferences.

 

Our conversations will arise from meditation on the description of the early church – united, generous, joyful, growing – that we find in Acts 2:42-47. Each local church will talk together, discerning the level of congregational health in 12 areas of shared ministry.

 

The goal of the conversation is the sharing of wisdom within the local church. Where is our mission focus? Where do we celebrate strength? Where are we called to give attention? What weaknesses threaten to impede our witness for Jesus Christ?  

 

The assessment tool offered for your use is user-friendly. We are calling it the A2 Indicators, drawing from the biblical grounding in Acts 2. The questions are simple ones, drawing out your wisdom and recent local church experience. As you work with the A2 Indicators, you will be blessed by the conversation you share with one another.

 

Insights from your local church conversation will be the focus of the fall charge conference, led by your district superintendent. I did not notice this for years, but the charge conference report forms say clearly that the report is to the charge conference. I assumed hierarchy, compulsion, as I led local church reporting to the annual conference. Not so!

 

We are assessing, in our local churches, what we have done and what we shall do as we bear Christ’s light.  In a very real sense, we are reporting to ourselves! The gathering of information by the annual conference is corollary, to help the conference help you. The purpose of the charge conference is the strengthening of the local church as a mission station, bearing the unique Wesleyan gift to the world. The world is our parish, and the annual conference exists to strengthen your local church for your crucial place in the expanse of God’s purpose. 

 

As we live into Acts 2, may we be led by the engaging presence of the Holy Spirit. From strength to strength we go in Christ’s ministry, graced by God’s constant care.