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Jesus: The Model for Christian Leaders
 


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Bishop Minerva Carcaño viewed by satellite at the Grand Rapids, MI, site. SCD2008

Bishop Minerva Carcaño gave the keynote address at the 2008 School of Congregational Development. Speaking from Orlando, FL, she was linked by satellite to the Grand Rapids, MI, site.
Image by: Chris Heckert
Source: Evangelization and Church Growth
This young woman is a participant in the 2008 School of Congregational Development. SCD2008

2008 School of Congregational Development.
Image by: Cassandra Heller
Source: Evangelization and Church Growth

by Elliott Wright

Orlando, FL, July 31, 2008--The 2008 United Methodist School of Congregational Development opened with a challenge to Christian leaders to live and act like Jesus.

Bishop Minerva Carcaño of Phoenix gave the keynote address at the event this year held in two locations, Orlando, Florida, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Speaking from Florida, she was linked by satellite to the Michigan site. Her topic was "The Spiritual Life of the Christian Leader."

"The spiritual life of a Christian leader is a life that thinks and acts like Jesus," Bishop Carcaño said, bolstering her assertion with biblical citations, hymnody, and personal experience.

The six-day school is attended on a volunteer basis by United Methodist pastors, district superintendents, bishops, and other leaders, some of them lay persons. It is sponsored jointly by the General Boards of Discipleship and Global Ministries. Strong emphasis is put on developing new congregations, revitalizing existing ones, and strengthening church leadership.

Early in her presentation the bishop asked the 300 people in Orlando and the 150 in Grand Rapids to stand and sing the hymn that includes the phrase, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! There's just something about that name."

Bishop Carcaño, who leads the Desert Southwest Annual (regional) Conference, also explored the passage in the Letter to the Philippians in which the Apostle Paul challenges Christians to have "the mind of Christ," who, while he was God, became a human being who suffered and was nailed to a cross.

"'Go for it,' says Paul. Aspire to think and act like Jesus."

The joy that comes from making Jesus the model of leadership, the bishop warned, may put Christian leaders in conflict with the world.

She also stressed that Christian leaders, those who think and act like Jesus, are not always in prominent positions in the church. Among those she cited as models of Jesus Christ were her grandmother Sophie; a young pastor she met in the mountains of the Philippines three years ago; and a woman ministering at the Mexican border to persons deported from the US--notably by washing the feet of weary travelers.

Bishop Carcaño stressed the important symbolism and reality of Christians washing the feet of those in need and one another's feet. She said:

Jesus himself showed us his mind and heart when on the eve of his crucifixion he took a basin and towel and proceeded to wash the feet of the disciples. Jesus' own action on that night became the lens through which we can see the mind of Christ and thus the spiritual life to which we are called. Because he loved his disciples from beginning to end, Jesus washed their feet.

Jesus' love for his disciples is expressed all through his ministry, but particularly and most importantly, in his death. It is only from the standpoint of Jesus' death that ...

It is all about relationships; relationships with God, with Jesus, and with each other. How different the world could be if we consistently served out of spiritual lives grounded in God's own love; a love that we know through Christ Jesus and that we best understand through the very mind of Christ, Christ who invited us into relationship with him and with each other, to serve each other in Christ's own love.

Photos from the 2008 School of Congregational Development

Ongoing news and features from the current and previous Schools of Congregational Development

Bishop Carcaño expressed the hope that Christian leaders would not get too caught up in what she described as the current "self-care" movement that reflects the priorities of a narcissistic society. "Self-care," she said, "is pretty common sense ... take care of your life for it is a gift from God ... sleep, exercise, eat right, and spend time with your loved ones." She said:

The importance of our lives is found in our relationship with God who created us for holy purposes. We find the significance of our lives ... through relationships of love with others. In knowing that we belong to Christ Jesus who has redeemed and reconciled us with God and with each other, we are enabled to respond to both the joy and the demands of love.

Participants in the School of Congregational Development engage in ministry tracks, seminars, worship, and visits to area "teaching churches."

The school sites in Orlando and Grand Rapids were linked for several plenary addresses and services of worship, some originating in Florida and some in Michigan.

*Elliott Wright is the information officer of the General Board of Global Ministries.


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Topic: Evangelization GBGM events United Methodist Church
Geographic Region: United States
Source: GBGM Press Releases
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Date posted: Aug 01, 2008