Like most during this pandemic, I have gained too much weight and watched too many Netflix or Marvel series on Disney. While I have a plan on how to deal with those things, which is not necessarily a resolution, I do want to offer what could be the best resolution for 2022. As the Regional Team leaders of the Coastal Plains Region, Brian, Hector, Lan, Enger, Megan, and myself would like to challenge all the Laity and Clergy of the 250 churches in the region to a Best Resolution or should I say Goal.
As Jesus commissioned his disciples, one of the last mandates he gave was to “go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19) The last year and a half have been exhausting and difficult for many of us. Trying to do church on-line, watching as numbers drop in our programs, dealing with budget restraints, and doing ministry in ways no one was trained to do. The world around us is tough to navigate with nightly news that often delivers more anxiety and frustration than hope.
However, is our world any different from the one in which Jesus first gave this mandate? The Roman Empire was already cracking and about to crumble, there was injustice and racism that Jesus pointed out, and the early church had its own problems as we read in the book of Acts. All that to say that it did not change the commission that Jesus gave his disciples and that was “to go make more disciples.”
So, the Best Resolution the Regional Team is asking us all to work together on, is to have 5,000 new visitors come into our worship, youth groups, Bible studies, mission trips, etc. This is really a two-year goal with the hope that by Dec. 31, 2022, we can say 2,500 first time visitors came into our churches, and how many of them have now become a disciple of Jesus Christ. No church is being asked to do this alone but as a region we are seeking to find these first-time visitors. Yes, it may mean having to ask some tough questions, like do we really know our community, show hospitality, does our worship need to improve, or do we need to make some changes?
Yes, it will mean not just giving a report at the council meeting, but making goals, trying, and failing at times, but trying again. And yes, it will take both laity and clergy for us to pray, listen to the Spirit’s moving, giving up our agenda to work together, and rejoice at a new disciple.
What this is NOT, is trying to find people to fill spots on a committee or meet the budget.
The passion here that we as a Regional Team want to share is what gives us energy and love for ministry, and that is to see people make a commitment to Christ and live that out in Christ’s Church. We are committed to helping you find ways in your location to evaluate, design, and then implement a plan to do the great commission. This will not be easy, may require sacrifices, tough decisions, but we have the promise of the Helper, the Holy Spirit, that is with us.
Enough of the negative worldly attitudes that have invaded us far too long. Let us strive for the Best Resolution we could make this year and the one we should be making every day, “to go make disciples of all.” For the answer to our homes, church, lives, and world, has and will always be in Christ.
The Regional Team looks forward to working with you in the great commission and resolution this year.
Glenn J Conaway, Delaware Bay District Superintendent