Yesterday I was in Nashville preparing the presentation on the Four Focus Areas (New Places for New People, Leadership Development, Ministry with the Poor, and Combating Killer Diseases – Imagine No Malaria) for General Conference. As we worked, all of us were powerfully impressed with the notion that the Four Focus Areas are interlocking. They reinforce each other and offer primary evidence of a healthy church. Vibrant and vital congregations start new places for new people, develop leadership, engage in risk-taking ministry with the poor and reach out around the world to combat evils like killer disease. Here in the Central Texas Conference I remain deeply impressed with how engaged our churches are in ministry with the poor. Great examples are everywhere from the 1st Street Mission to Laura Edwards to concrete hands-on help in small communities across rural Texas. Today (Friday, March 2nd), I am at work in San Antonio as a part of one of these great ministries with those who are poor or otherwise in crisis. I have the privilege of representing the five Texas bishops on Methodist Children’s Home Board. MCH is a wonderful godly ministry that reaches out to those in need and/or crisis in deep and lasting ways. It is worthy of our support and fully reflects our best intent in sharing the gospel by deeds as well as words.