Praying for General Conference

April 29th, 2016

Every four years, the United Methodist Church convenes at General Conference. On May 10-20, 864 global delegates — half of them clergy and half laity — will gather in Portland, Oregon for the latest conference. Delegates will consider more than 1,000 petitions that will order the work of United Methodist churches, pastors and agencies and set official positions on a variety of subjects.

One of the key tenets of the United Methodist movement from its founder John Wesley is that you cannot have personal holiness apart from social holiness. Social justice is a key emphasis within our denomination. It's why caucus groups surrounding General Conference focus on concerns like immigration rights, pension plan divestment from for-profit prisons, issues surrounding homosexuality and sacred unions, as well as others.

All of these issues can be very contentious. By no means is there consensus, and the concerns are hotly debated. But what I appreciate about the United Methodist Church is that it clearly recognizes Christ's mandate from Micah 6:8 - "And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."

Pastor Chris Heckaman, future lead pastor of Ginghamsburg Church, and I will both be serving as delegates from the West Ohio Conference. Please be praying for health and safe travel for us and for all delegates from across the globe. Let’s also pray for a prevailing spirit of love and grace during difficult conversations and for continued unity within the United Methodist Church around our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Mike Slaughter is the almost four-decade chief dreamer and lead pastor of Ginghamsburg Church and the spiritual entrepreneur of ministry marketplace innovations. Mike’s call to "afflict the comfortable" challenges Christians to wrestle with God and their God-destinies. His newest books are The Passionate Church: Ignite Your Church and Change the World (Abingdon Press; 2016) and The Christian Wallet: Spending, Giving, and Living with a Conscience (Westminster John Knox Press; 2016).

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