New and Renewed
By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
Have you learned new words in the last two and a half years?
New words like Zoom, pivot, virtual, unprecedented, Covid, Pfizer and Moderna? And then watched how old words have taken on a different life: pandemic, war, refugees, racism?
Our churches, schools and ministries here in western Washington sure learned new words.
When the pandemic first forced the closure of churches and schools from public gatherings and meetings, we quickly learned that church and school can be done in new, renewed and innovative ways.
Churches, schools and ministry directors pivoted to using older methods of tent meetings and newer forms of technology to still speak the words of the Bible and share the gospel of Jesus.
Matthew 25:31-44 shares ancient words that became a rallying cry for many throughout the last couple years.
There we see Jesus talking about those who are at the end of time who stand before God. God says to those about to enter into the kingdom of heaven that they are entering because they fed the hungry, visited the sick, clothed the naked and gave water to those who were thirsty.
There are many New & Renewed stories that could be told in this mid-term report. Stories of churches with new, revived and growing community service programs. Stories of churches being planted in the midst of a pandemic, of schools that grew in enrollment during the pandemic, of financial blessings being poured out through the faithful giving our the members.
But the real story is that of spiritual growth that happened as people pulled together to face the challenges of our day.
As we look into the future we know that God is still leading. We have plenty of challenges and opportunities: reaching our mission field of 5 million people who need to know Jesus; rebuilding church attendance; planting new churches; revitalizing our existing churches, schools and ministries.
We have a goal that every church in this conference will be a growing church.
Growing spiritually and numerically. This is a big challenge but can be reached as we learn new words and revive the ancient words of scripture that tell us to take the gospel to the entire world. In Acts 1:8 we see that Jesus gave the disciples a starting point: their own hometown of Jerusalem and then branching out.
As we think of revitalization of our churches it begins with prayer, and then looking into our neighborhoods and saying, “Here we are, Lord, send us out into those places and help us bring the people to a fuller knowledge of You.”
As our team reflects in this mid-term report, there is much to be thankful for as we have learned new words and applied old words in our ministry lives.
Equally so, there is much to look forward to as we continue to apply what is new and to also renew what God would have us do.