Life on the Mountain

I am leaving Monday evening for Mt. Sequoyah, Arkansas.  Traditionally the South Central Jurisdiction (SCJ) of the United Methodist Church holds an event entitled “Bishops Week” every June at Mt. Sequoyah.  Rather than spending time on a broad-spectrum continuing education event, we are spending focused time with the Bishops and extended Cabinets of the Jurisdiction examining leadership issues. Prior to Bishops Week we will be having a two-day meeting of the SCJ College of Bishops.  This meeting will mark the conclusion of my term as President of the College.  (Bishop Jim Dorff, Resident Bishop of the San Antonio area, will be the new SCJ College of Bishops President effective at the close of our week.) One again we are being led by Dr. Gil Rendle, senior consultant with the Texas Methodist Foundation and author of Journey in the Wilderness: New Life for Mainline Churches.  We will reflect together on the change we are all engulfed in.  Of particular interest will be a session entitled "The Gordian Knot of Metrics."  We know that we must move from measuring “inputs” to ministry to the metrics of measuring ministry “output.”   Put differently, just how do we measure what makes for a faithful and fruitful congregation that accomplishes the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?  Hard numbers (i.e. professions of faith, people engaged in hands on ministry with the poor, worship attendance, etc.) are a part of the answer but only a part.  There must be a narrative component that takes seriously the varied contexts for ministry while at the same time engaging in genuine Wesleyan accountability. I’ll try to offer a follow up blog at the end of the week. Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone.That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so thateveryone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far betterlife than people ever lived on their own” (The Message, II Corinthians 5:14-15).