I pray this letter finds you well and blessed. God has placed a passage of scripture on my heart lately and I continue to pray about what it means. The passage is Joshua 1:1-9 (some of you will know this has been on my heart). This s the passage just before the Israelites cross the Jordan into the promised land. The people had crossed through the wilderness and are not on the edge of the Land promised them. So far, the resounding message I hear from God is, “Are you going to cross the river?” That is, I feel like God is asking if we trust that God has a promised land, a new season, a mission for us as a district and conference. I think the answer is clearly, “YES.” God has a land of promise ahead for us. I feel like the churches and people in our district believe God has a new season for us. And I believe as God asks us to cross the river into that land, we will say “YES.” Take the time to read that passage and I would love to hear from you what you hear God saying to you.
I have a few things to share with you, so let me get started.
- Africa University Scholarship (Missional Challenge) to honor Bishop and First Lady Trimble. Located near Mutare (moo-tar-ee), Zimbabwe, Africa University has more than 1200 students from 30 different Countries on the continent of Africa. One of the many impressive statistics about Africa University is that of the more than 10,000 graduates, more than 90% stay on the Continent to serve their communities and people. One of the ways I talk about Africa University is that it is the UMC connection at work. Here is what I am asking:
- All churches averaging fewer than 50 people in worship to offer a minimum of $500 to this fund. Churches averaging more than 50 to offer $1000. These are suggested minimums.
- Your Pastors and Lay Leaders have more detailed information, check with them for details.
- Here is a link with more information about the scholarship fund and Africa University. https://www.inumc.org/au-missional-challenge/
- We plan to celebrate these gifts at Charge Conference as we “Cultivate Joy” and celebrate together.
- Breakthrough Prayer – it is still a thing! Please continue in your Breakthrough Prayer efforts. This is not an item to be checked off a list. No, it is a way to offer to God wildly big prayers to lead our congregations forward.
- Do you have a Breakthrough Prayer? Is it still the right one? If so, keep going and if not, create a new one. Don’t have one? Create one and start praying it as a congregation.
- Be ready to join together as a District to be part of the Breakthrough Prayer movement’s “Dynamite Prayer” in the Spring of 2024.
- Growing Young – check it out. This is method to change the attitude and openness to young people. The book is readily available and there are many resources available to help congregations. Just contact me and I will connect you with resources that will be helpful.
Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” So, friends, as we move forward together, let us remember these words and be strong and courageous. Blessings.