11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”12 And God said, “I will be with you.” - Exodus 3:11-12a
Listening to a podcast this week, I heard the quote, ‘Apathy makes excuses, passion finds a way.’
If ever there was a season to create apathy in our ministry, it is this COVID season. There are a thousand reasons why our ministries should barely be surviving during these days. COVID has us starting, stopping, and then cautiously proceeding. And yet like Moses standing before the burning bush, God answers our apathy and excuses with “I will be with you.” We can trust God to be with us. The question is, ‘will we passionately (and safely following proper safety protocols), follow or will we surrender to apathy and excuses?’ More times than not our excuses are birthed out of an attitude of human agency; we cannot do what God has called us to on our own strength. Yet with the realized promise that God will be with us, we can accomplish what is put before us.
On my desk, I have this picture in clear view. It has sat there for years, because in my personal moments of apathy, I need to be reminded, that in Africa, the place where the United Methodist Church is growing the very fastest, in some cases, all they have is a tree. These faithful folks so in love with God, do not wait until the praise band sounds perfect, the facility is pristine, the family life center is complete, or the lobby coffee shop starts serving the right coffee. They enter into relationship with people, under a tree. They tell people in their villages about the love and life changing transformation available to them through the grace of Jesus Christ, under a tree. They teach the babies the stories of the Bible, under a tree. They worship and sing praises, under a tree. There is not a church in our conference that does not have more resources than the folks in this picture; certainly, none that I have pastored. Yet I am guilty of the “when we have more, we will be able to do more” mentality.
God has given our local congregations everything they need to be in ministry to those in our mission fields.
In your own thoughts as a leader and in the conversations around the various groups of your church, would you say there is apathy or passion? Is divine agency or human agency in the driver’s seat of your mission and ministry? The remedy for apathy is changing our outlook. Taking the focus off ourselves and our limitations and focusing on God. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “… capture every thought and make it obey Christ.”
Realizing it is not about the resources we have or our situation. It is about God being with us, helping us to take the next faithful step to accomplish God’s purpose. The world is weary from these Covid days. They need to hear the hope we have been so generously given through Christ.
Passionately lead with love and grace,
Dr. Leah S. Hidde-Gregory,
Executive Director, Smith Center for Evangelism, Mission and Church Growth
Storm the Gates!