I love the game of baseball, don’t you? Especially this time of year with teams in the thick of their respective pennant races. The bishop has his beloved Chicago Cubs with the best record in baseball this year and I have the hometown Texas Rangers who have a chance to go beyond last year’s heroics. Wouldn’t it be great if the two teams met for the world series in late October? Both teams have a plan, an objective, an ultimate goal. Time will tell if either team makes it to that pinnacle of success. The former major league all-star and legendary sage, Yogi Berra always seemed to have a plan although he sometimes made an error if not on the field then in his language. He once said about making plans that “you’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” No doubt the former Yankee slugger of a bygone era could play the game and although the language in this particular “Yogism” is a little off center it still makes a point. We need a plan in place if we are beginning something new and we need the all-knowing GPS or road map if we intend to successfully make the journey.
Part of my initial journey as a new district lay leader is to personally visit our district’s churches. Hopefully one or more a month. I don’t want to shirk responsibilities in my own local church but I do feel a personal responsibility, an obligation if you will, to the people in the district and our district superintendent (DS) to be out and about. In my mind I see an opportunity: to get acquainted and strengthen my relationship with pastors and lay people in the various churches; let them know that I am available as a resource to assist them in their work; get a better idea of the trends in worship across the district; assist in district event planning and hopefully grasp what folks think I really should be doing as a district lay leader. All of this in addition to being sensitive to the information in an excellent printed resource provided by the conference entitled District Lay Leader Handbook.
Perhaps my plans are rather ambitious but at their core is a desire to be in a strong Christian relationship with those who may at some point look to me for leadership. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m a long way from feeling confident in this new role, however with each day that passes the Lord allows me to comprehend a little more of the true meaning of responsible church leadership. My prayer is that over time I can travel that road with the laity of the district and as has been stated by one of the CTC district superintendents “partner with them and support them in the mission of Christ.”
So, quickly back to this idea of showing up unannounced in the district’s churches. How’s that going you ask? Well recently, in my new capacity, I made the first visit to one of our churches. I was fortunate that Glenda, my wife of forty-nine years was able to accompany me. To no one’s surprise and upon arrival we were warmly greeted, had a few minutes to introduce ourselves to the pastor and other early arrivals, and then enjoyed a service that included: prayer, spirited singing, a “Blessing of the Backpacks” for back to school, a baptism and a thoughtful and provoking sermon. It was a good day all the way around. Most importantly, we were blessed and it was the beginning of a Christ-centered relationship that will grow as we continue to partner with others in “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”. Unlike Yogi we know where we are going. I trust you will join us in this endeavor!