18 for 20

They prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s deepest thoughts and desires. Show us clearly which one you have chosen from among these two to take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” When they cast lots, the lot fell on Matthias. He was added to the eleven apostles.

Acts 1:24-26 (CEB)

to see the resolution discussed in this post, visit 18for20.wordpress.com

This past weekend, we celebrated the defining and central moment in the Christian faith: God’s redemptive work in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the next few weeks, we’ll share stories of the resurrected Lord during worship at churches all over the conference (and the church universal, too).

And then, a few weeks from now, we’ll remember the ascension, when Jesus returned to heaven. Do you know what comes next in our story?

The answer is a vote.

Well, prayer and then a vote, to be more accurate. Faced with the overwhelming responsibility of taking the message of the Gospel to the world, the followers of Jesus prayerfully considered two men to fill the role of twelfth apostle, and then cast votes.

I think that United Methodist Christians should approach our election of delegates to general and jurisdictional conference with the same reverence and awe as the first Christians.

Several months ago, I started meeting and praying and thinking with a group of pastors from around the Texas Conference. We’re from all over the map geographically, theologically, politically,  and in terms of age and appointments. But we’re all people who want to be deeply intentional and prayerful with the election of our next delegation. With the coming 2019 special session of general conference, it is imperative that we approach the election of the people involved in decision making about the future of our church with prayerful humility and thoughtful discernment.

As we came together, we realized a few things:

  • We should start praying, talking, and thinking about how we elect delegates now.
  • We are in a historic, crazy time in the history of the UMC, and so we should be really intentional.
  • There will likely be a lot of weighty things at the 2020 General Conference, so giving that delegation time to grow together and learn would be a really good thing.

In light of these things, we decided that electing our 2020 delegation in 2018 would be a really good thing. This will allow the 2020 delegation to attend 2019 as observers, to be fully versed in the outcomes there and better prepared to “hit the ground running” in 2020. I am excited about this possibility, excited about the future of our church, and excited most of all about the conversations people are having about our beloved denomination. It’s good to have holy conferencing and conversations!

I’m supporting this resolution, and so are a lot of people who are much smarter than I am. I invite you to do so, too!

–N

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