Rediscovering Our Purpose




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Rediscovering Our Purpose

Rediscovering Our Purpose

I find myself agreeing with Robert Rynders that the “United Methodist Church needs to slow down and spend more time listening, learning, adapting, and rediscovering our purpose.”

I have felt for some time that when many of us within the church consider our vision, we have a multitude of different interpretations of what those eleven words mean. The denominational vision is: Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

And yet, my emphasis has always been on the word “disciples.” I believe that we need first of all to look within the church, that we need to work hard for five years, or ten, or our lifetimes at challenging ourselves to become disciples. That we need to discover what that means for each one of us. That it’s important to consider over and over again how our lives have changed or need to change because we want to be a disciple.

And the task for the local church (and district, conference, jurisdiction, general) is how we support those who are already members in becoming disciples.

It has never for me been about numbers, or opening new churches, or whether we are in decline or pulling out of that decline. It has always been for me about whether I am living my life and making daily decisions to walk in the way, to care about the orphan and the homeless, to make calls to senators and the president about justice issues in this country and beyond.

It has always been for me that I need to consider my finances and whether I give not only to the church but to other organizations who are living up to their stated values. It has always been for me that I want to look at my time and where I can best invest it as a person who wants to follow Jesus. Frankly in those two considerations I have to push myself some days to feel that investment of time and money in the church is the right decision.

If the people within the United Methodist Church right now would slow down enough to actually consider the kind of disciple they want to be, and then if they were to implement those decisions, the world would be transformed now!

Ann Freeman Price, Lay Leader at Sparta United Methodist Church, Sparta, NJ; member of the Sparta Church and Society committee; Spiritual Growth Coordinator for United Methodist Women Skylands District; writer; grandmother of 16 grandchildren.

Ann Freeman Price more than 8 years ago