Dear Resurrection Family,
This has been an awesome week, as we welcomed nearly 2,000 guests to our 20th annual Leadership Institute. Thank you to the more than 200 volunteers as well as staff from all four campuses, who helped welcome our guests, lead workshops, and work tirelessly behind the scenes to encourage and inspire other church leaders. You were AWESOME!
This weekend in worship, I’ll lead in all but Sunday night’s service, but I’ve asked John Ed Mathison to preach. John Ed is one of my heroes and mentors. He served for 36 years as Senior Pastor at Frazier Memorial UMC in Montgomery, Alabama, during which time he grew the church from 400 members to 9,000 members and the largest average worship attendance in the denomination until around the year 2000. His sermons were broadcast to millions of homes. While pastoring at Frazier the church was listed as the 25th most influential church in America. John Ed retired ten years ago and has been mentoring, leading and coaching ever since. You’ll be blessed to hear this remarkable man preach this weekend. His sermon is entitled, “When God Redefines the Possible.” Pastor Jason will preach at West, Pastor Scott Downtown. Blue Springs and Leawood will hear Dr. Mathison.
Part of our vision as a church is to be used by God to strengthen churches. Events like Leadership Institute for pastors, church staff, and lay leaders are a way we do that, as well as encouraging future pastors though our support of Saint Paul School of Theology. In worship this weekend, you’ll hear from some Saint Paul faculty and students and have the opportunity to learn more about the exciting things happening in the seminary.
On Sunday afternoon I’ll fly out of Kansas City with LaVon and two members of our film crew for Israel. We’ll arrive Monday night and on Tuesday we’ll begin filming a series of three sermons (plus footage for a fourth) on David: Shepherd, Poet, Warrior, King. David is a towering figure of scripture. Ruth points the way to his birth. Half of 1 Samuel and all of 2 Samuel are dedicated to telling his life story. His story continues in 1 Kings. 1 Chronicles is nearly all about King David, and 2 Chronicles concludes his story. 75 of the 150 Psalms are attributed to or dedicated to David. The prophets see him as an archetype for the Messiah. Jesus is called the Son of David. Today, Israel’s flag is the Star of David and Jerusalem and its environs are still called by some the City of David.
Traveling with me and joining me in co-preaching each week in Israel will be my friend Rabbi Art Nemitoff, Senior Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Jehudah at 123rd and Nall. It is the oldest synagogue in Kansas City. We will explore the main stories from David’s life in the places they occurred, and the sermon will be shared at both B’nai Jehudah and Resurrection each week! I don’t know of this ever happening anywhere before. Each week we’ll show you the archaeological sites related to David’s story, speak with archaeologists, and we’ll talk about what David’s story means for us today. This will be a “can’t miss” sermon series!
Last night Bishop Robert Schnase, formerly bishop of Missouri and now bishop of the Rio Grande, Texas Annual Conference and I led an information session on “The Future of the United Methodist Church.” We spoke about the current conflict in the UMC over same-sex marriage, the differences in biblical interpretation related to this, and the bishop reviewed the proposal from the Council of Bishops on a way forward for the denomination. We then looked at the data from polls we’ve taken of United Methodists, and we took a poll again last night to see where the pastors and church leaders at Leadership Institute see themselves, and where they see their churches. I think most people present found this to be a very helpful and informative evening. You can watch it by clicking here.
In recent months, we've received incredible ideas through multiple surveys, followed by input from more than 600 congregants from across all four campuses who helped prioritize those ideas at the Congregational Engagement Gatherings. We’ve now have the top five prioritized ideas in each of three categories – changing lives, transforming the Kansas City area and transforming the world.
These are exciting ideas, but we need to continue to refine our focus in order to maximize our impact. At this point these are broad ideas, the next step, will be to begin to look at what’s missing from this list, and what shape these ideas might take. Could you take a moment to click here and take a quick survey (only six question) to help further prioritize the ideas that surfaced?
I hope you be able to stop by the new location of Flourish, our Furnishings Ministry, and check out their new space at an open house on Saturday, September 29 from 9 – noon. The ministry is located at 11971 Grandview Road, in Grandview, Missouri – just 15 minutes from the church. The official ribbon cutting will be at 10 am, and we’ll have tours all morning.
We are so excited about this new facility and the transformative impact the ministry will have on families in our community. You can learn more about the ministry and opportunities to donate and volunteer on our website.
Last Friday we had the sign-ups for the 2019 Egypt trip. The trip filled in 25 minutes, faster than most of us anticipated. We have a waiting list for the trip as, inevitably, we’ll have a few drop out. I have asked Educational Opportunities to see if it is possible to add another boat for the Nile River portion of the trip so that we could add additional spots – perhaps another 100 spots. I won’t know on this for another week or two. We’ll organize an informational meeting for those who signed up for early November.
For those who were not able to get on the trip, we’ll let you know if we are able to add more spots, and if not, we’ll plan another trip like this in a few years. For those who were able to get on the trip, I look forward to sharing more about this trip with you at our informational meeting in November.
I hope that our sermon series on prayer has helped you to develop a more meaningful prayer life. If you are interested in regular prayer time with others, we have a mid-week prayer service each Wednesday from noon-12:30 pm in the Firestone Chapel. All are welcome! If you would like to join our pastors and congregational care ministers in praying for our congregation each week, those requesting prayer are listed each week on our website.
I wish I could bottle up for you all of the comments I’ve heard the last 48 hours from pastors and lay people from across the country and around the world. Again and again they have told me how much you, Church of the Resurrection, have impacted their lives and ministry. There was such passion and enthusiasm and people describing the ideas they have implemented at their churches. They also described how much your hospitality meant to them. All of this is part of our vision of bringing revitalization to the United Methodist Church. As I write this I’m exhausted and exhilarated by how privileged we are to have thousands of churches and church leaders looking to us for encouragement, ideas, inspiration and leadership. It is humbling and an important part of your ministry, Church of the Resurrection.
I have to run. Rabbi Art and I will be sharing a video with you, and with B’nai Jehudah in worship this weekend about the upcoming sermon series – don’t miss this!
I am grateful to be your senior pastor,
PS: I wrote a prayer for the Leadership Institute participants that we handed out – a daily prayer for the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives – and I thought you might enjoy having it as well:
Holy Spirit, Indwelling Presence and Power of God, immerse me once more in your Living Water. Convict, counsel and comfort me. Guide me into all truth. Help me bear your fruit. Grant me your gifts for serving others. Fill me with your power. Lead me and use me to shepherd your people. And please, dear Lord, rekindle in my heart and my church the flames of revival, that we might love and serve you now and in the world to come. To you, with the Father and the Son, be all glory now and forever. Amen.
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