Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Kingdom

In United Methodist world, we have a term for our servants who go out on short term mission trips of 5-10 days. We call them Volunteers in Mission. VIM is the shorthand term. (I understand some have suggested that it should really be called Disciples in Mission, but DIM sounds comical, doesn't it?)

I am serving in my Conference as the VIM Coordinator, working with a fabulous team of laity and clergy. One of the people I have met along this journey is a lay person in New York.

We were chatting by email, and he shared that he has been working to bring together a consortium of churches, non-profits, and secular groups to focus upon the significant challenges that youth in their community face. They have a drop out rate of 28%... and all of the attending challenges that go along with that like substance abuse, etc.

He said that getting folks to the table has been the easiest part. Deciding what one aspect of helping youth they will focus upon has proved to be the challenge. In addition, the most difficult folks in this process have been.... the pastors.

I groaned out loud when I read this. It was a forehead smacking moment because sadly, this is pathetically common. In my reply to him I said:

How hard is it to live out Matthew 25, and Luke 4? I wonder what the world would look like if we pastors could let go of visions of building our own small kingdoms and embrace God's big Kingdom? I think the small kingdoms look so attractive,manageable and fun; and there are so many workshops around on how to build them. The big kingdom is so much more mysterious and messy.. and yet.... and yet.... it is God's

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