Bishop Reminds United Methodists that Mission Belongs to God
by Melissa Hinnen
Stamford, Connecticut, April 11, 2011--In the week leading up to Holy Week, directors of the General Board of Global Ministries were challenged to share in Christ's passion. Bishop Bruce Ough of the West Ohio Annual Conference, who also presides over the worldwide mission agency of The United Methodist Church, opened the spring board meeting by urging directors to submit to God's will.
Quoting passages from Matthew, Bishop Ough described the transition of Christ from his ministry to his arrest, suffering, death, and resurrection. Illustrating the purposeful submission of Christ to God's will, he urged the directors to be passionate disciples in the areas they were to focus on for the three days of meeting:
As the board prepared to act on the proposed strategic plan, Bishop Ough asked directors to remember that "mission is not ours but God's, and mission is about the world, not the church. These assertions are at the very heart of Global Ministries becoming truly available to share in Christ's passion and fully available for God's purposes."
Directors were prayerfully considering proposals for new governance and structure. The bishop asserted that the fundamental principles driving the process are "organization effectiveness, nimbleness and excellence, and horizontal rather than hierarchical connectionalism."
Highlighting the global nature of the agency's work, Bishop Ough reminded directors of the Methodist "impulse and mandate that is clearly affirmed" in the "proposed strategic plan dealing with expanding missionary services, engaging disciples in mission, and developing new mission initiatives and partnerships."
Bishop Ough challenged the board to remember Jesus' passion that dismantled the barriers to God's grace. He invited them in their holy conferencing to walk with Christ on the road to the cross that led to resurrected, new-creation, life-giving mission.
Immediately before opening the meeting, Bishop Ough took a moment to remember Howard Heiner, a missionary who passed away on Saturday at the age of 81. Heiner was the founder and long-time chair of the United Methodist Missionary Association and in that capacity attended Global Ministries board meetings for many years. The bishop offered a word of prayer, rejoicing that Heiner was part of the company of saints and lifting up his wife, Peggy and their four children.
Download the full text of Bishop Ough's Address (PDF, 8 pp., 110 KB).
Date posted: Apr 12, 2011