Remember the Future – by Bishop Robert Schnase
Peter Steinke’s book A Door Set Open: Grounding Change in Mission and Hope contrasts hopefulness and hopelessness. Since reading Steinke’s book, the phrase Remember the Future has lingered in my mind. At first, the words are disorienting. Remember points backward, future looks forward. Yet in every discussion, deliberation, discernment, and decision, a leader must give deep and conscientious consideration to the future—to the future of the mission, to future contexts, to future generations, to a future with hope.
General Conference 2012 promises to be a significant moment in the life of the United Methodist Church. Petitions, bishops, pastors, laity, caucuses, committees, boards, agencies, budgets, plenary, legislation, young people, the global church, conferences, ordination, mission, discipline, Wesley, malaria, seminaries, worship, translators, hymns, prayer—this is the peculiar vocabulary and singular language of General Conference. The agenda is overwhelming. The expectations are incredible. The worship is awe-inspiring. The array of material to read is unrealistic. The work is important. The tension is tangible. The outcomes are uncertain.
And, I pray, the Spirit is present. I pray that delegates focus on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I hope they direct our energies outward into the mission fields at home and across the globe that God gives us. And I pray they remember the future.