A few weeks ago, I began sharing our vision as a Central District, that we will be Christ-Centered, Community-Connected, and Missionally-Centric, which aligns with our United Methodist Church mission, and our Indiana Conference’s Wildly Important Goal (WIG). Over the next several weeks, I will attempt to expand the understanding of our collective vision, which will lead us to Charge Conference session, where we will talk through and celebrate the ways we are beginning to live in and committing to live out this vision beyond 2020. This week we will explore what it means to be Christ-Centered.
In reflection, many would assume the obvious about what it means to be Christ-Centered; after all we are the Church! Rather than dismissing the importance, I would suggest this becomes a deeper introspection and inventory for our individual lives and our lives as communities of faith; I would offer in being Christ-Centered, we would need to revisit our radical hospitality practices, our risk-taking mission methods, and our extravagant generosity principles…and ask the age-old question…“What Would Jesus Do?” What would Jesus do to those who are in our communities, which surround our church buildings, who are suffering from a stacked system? What would Jesus do, for those who are trying to gain freedom and pursue happiness in a new land? What would Jesus do for those battling with addictions, for which a handout is not helpful? I would ask that in answering the question of “What Would Jesus Do?” we do not gauge it through the lens for which we have created and the boxes for which we have contained “our Jesus,” but from the reality of a Jesus who ate with outsiders, welcome the outcasts, and liberated the oppressed.
In my travels throughout the Central District, I heard another perspective of Jesus from a powerful message from Rev. Danny Walker (Avon UMC), which referenced Luke 13:10-17. In the message, Rev. Walker talked about the fundamental characteristics of Jesus; the Christ who calls out and the Christ who sets free. Rev. Walker also shared that Christ was able to see the invisible and made them visible! I wonder, as we live into part of the vision of being Christ-Centered, that our Christ Compassion and Christ Love will be able to intercede and intervene, because we have become invigorated to partner with God to call out the injustices and inequities, and begin setting free by getting involved at the root causes of the challenges in the lives of people to bring about transformation!
Friends, being Christ-Centered is not about the crosses we adorn, the t-shirts we wear, the clichés we chant, or the churches we attend. No, being Christ-Centered is seeing people as people…and being willing to encourage like Jesus, equip like Jesus, and empower like Jesus! This is not a check-off the list type challenge; this is a daily decision, both individually and corporately to be more like the One who gave all for us!!!
Committed in Service,
Dr. Aleze M. Fulbright
Conference Superintendent serving the Central District
P.S. I would like to invite and encourage all to participate in our Connecting with a Cause experience that will take place on September 22, from 3:00 – 6:00 PM at Epworth UMC. This is an experience to strengthen our Connection, install a Conference Superintendent, and make impact in our Central District communities. All are able to participate (ages 5 to very seasoned). For more information and to sign up, please visit: https://donate.packawayhunger.org/event/connecting-for-a-cause/e240774