Moment for Mission
"Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor." — John 12:20, NRSV
Our United Methodist bishops have accepted a calling, first in ordination as pastors and again as bishops. In accepting this call, each made the commitment to follow wherever God may lead.
Following this calling means sacrifice. It means going where one is sent, a complicated matter for anyone with a mortgage, spouse and/or children in school.
This is the commitment of those who serve the church in the role of bishop.
Bishops are the overseers of churches assigned to regional areas. They preside over the annual conferences under their leadership. Bishops are elected by their jurisdictional conferences.
It is bishops who are charged with leading the church toward Christian unity and interreligious relationships.
Our bishops speak into the life of the church so that the church can speak life into the world. Our bishops call us to action, prayer and reaching outward with messages of hope and salvation for the world around us.
Bishop Bill McAllily recently called the Tennessee Conference youth to follow Jesus in the world by following him from "the feet up, and not the head down," calling them into the movement of God's love.
Our bishops are able to serve the church in this way because of our generous giving toward our apportionments. With these gifts, we are able to provide them with salary, pension and health benefits through the Episcopal Fund.
God, we thank you for those servants of yours who have chosen to pattern their lives after you, to shepherd a flock of your people in the role of bishop. Give us generous hearts that we may give back to them. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fifth Sunday in Lent – God, our light and salvation, your forgiveness brings joy and gladness. Thank you for welcoming us to worship with open arms. Thank you for inviting us to follow Jesus as disciples who love you and love our neighbors. Keep us close to you, for in your presence we live. We dedicate ourselves and our offerings to you. Let your will be done by your Spirit at work in us a part of the church of Jesus Christ your Son. We ask this in his name and for his sake. Amen. (Psalm 51)
One of the roles of our bishops in The United Methodist Church is leading and guiding, specifically in leading the church toward Christian unity.
In this season of Lent, our bishops are calling us together to "lose" our lives "for the sake of the gospel." The Council of Bishops has called the church to spend time in prayer, fasting and sharing the time and money saved, as we have given something up with someone else. They have reminded us that we are "saved in order to participate in the salvation of others."
Their oversight and guidance in the church is a gift to our annual conferences and our churches. As they have been willing to lose themselves in their service to God in the church in going where God calls them, so do we, the church, have a call to follow where God leads.
Our bishops remind us of that call. Bishops are able to follow their call because of our generous apportionment giving to the Episcopal Fund.