Cabinet Address: Purpose, Practice, Perseverance
PEORIA -- Utilizing a metaphor of running, members of the Cabinet offered a perspective on life in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
Connecting the Hebrews 12 scripture, Cabinet co-chairs In-Sook Hwang and Cindy Jones offered four things the Christians life have in common with running a race.
- Purpose -- Athletes and Christians don't runs the race just for fun. "They are willing to sacrifice everything for one purpose, that is to maximize their potential, perform their best and hopefully gain a prize," Hwang said. "They are so focused on the purpose. For the Christian, it's called Christian perfection or sanctification."
- Practice -- Both athletes and Christians remain a state of excellence through practice with a daily discipline. "As Christians, we also need to develop and practice spiritual discipline to deepen our relationships," Jones said. She noted the First Thursday observance for the past two years and the Reading Through the Bible in a Year this past year as ways many individuals and churches are recapturing the practice component to their faith. "As we practice the means of grace, we become more like Jesus Christ each day."
- Perseverance -- "Perseverance is not a choice but a necessity to refine athlete’s abilities, skills in physical capacity and mental potential," Hwang said. "Christian life is more like a hurdle race. For the early Christians, persecution was the life-threatening hurdle that caused many Christians to fall down or drive off from the course. Perseverance is a way to develop and refine Christian characters in the midst of trials and temptations. Struggles are a part of Christian life. How we handle them makes a difference in our Christian life. Perseverance takes us to the finish line. We need to remember that we are not alone in the race. Hwang noted that the Chinese use two separate characters to represent conflict. The first is crisis or danger and the second is opportunity.
Two of the initiatives that have been birthed in the last year are the conflict resolution training and the formation of an Intercultural Resource Team. The team was formed in light of 2011 census figures, which show, for the first time, racial and ethnic minorities make up more than half the children born in the United States.
The Cabinet is urging congregations to develop a ministry plan to be more fruitful and vital congregations that will outline achievable, realistic and measurable goals.