As many aspects of church life and ministry are adapting during this time, so did our Annual Gathering for 2020 require a significant adjustment. Instead of multiple days spent in fellowship, sharing stories of God’s work, praying communally, and enjoying corporate worship, this year required us to gather virtually, and shorten our regular time together to just a few hours during the morning of Monday, April 27.

While the necessary business decisions for the district were handled as efficiently as possible given the constraints of a virtual meeting, we also felt it necessary to take some time to focus on the challenges and opportunities this time affords the church.

Tom opened the meeting with the following message.

In his welcome to district workers and church leaders, he discussed the importance of incarnational existence. Togetherness is vital to our growth and connection as a body of believers and as a society. A connection to our past, our present, and our future anchors our connection to God himself. Incarnation is the cornerstone of our Christian faith. The resurrection of Jesus fulfills the gospel as Jesus rises in bodily form to secure our salvation.  One day, we too will rise!

Tom wrapped his opening message with a challenge to our leaders. We will eventually be together with people, in the flesh. Some things will be the same, some things different. At the center of it all must be an incarnated and resurrected Christ. “Will you, as leaders, commit to a renewed intentionality and increased intensity to focus all of your efforts on an incarnate, resurrected Christ?,” asked Tom.

As you prayerfully consider this challenge in the coming days and weeks, Tom offered additional thoughts to frame your planning and preparations. These include:

  • As the leader, what can you do to keep an experience with Christ central to each aspect of the church’s ministry?
  • When God comes near humanity there is always a holy disruption. What can you do to keep the best of what you’ve seen from the disruption of this time?
  • What assumptions do you have about God, humanity, society, and the church that need to be adjusted in order to receive what the Spirit is doing among us?

We look forward to hearing stories of how God has used this global disruption to bring renewal within the church and also to bring glory to his name!