Dear Friends in Jesus Christ,
“The purpose of the annual conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God.” (The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2008).
I have been thinking a lot about this equipping role. To equip means, “to furnish, dress array, make ready.” I am delighted that here in the IGRC we take this very seriously.
We are rife with opportunities that offer equipping for the ministry of evangelization and making disciples of Jesus Christ. We have a growing menu of offerings that takes the task seriously, honors different learning styles, and is not one size fits all.
The key is that any person or congregation that is a part of IGRC that earnestly seeks to grow forward the capacity to be an authentic witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has serious, credible options to grow in this way available. I am persuaded that those options will grow in number and quality across time. I appeal to you one and all to make this the year in which you and your congregation renew your commitment to reach out under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to share the new life that is made available in the Risen Christ. As you make this commitment know that you are not alone. There are resources crying out “let us help”.
I share all of this as we prepare for the feast of Easter. One of the Gospel readings for Easter Day is John 20:1-18. Most striking to me about this Easter narrative is the sense of movement. There is movement toward the tomb to honor and grieve. There is movement toward one another seeking a sense of strength in the face of loss. There is movement toward seeing who Jesus really is. There is movement that ultimately helps the church proclaim the good news. “Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord". And this is our work not only at Easter but every day.
Because of the Risen Christ I am
Gregory V. Palmer