“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony,” says in Colossians 3:14, NRSV
Is it true that holy conferencing, the way of United Methodists, builds up Christian disciples? Does our holy conferencing yields mature disciples of Jesus Christ?
By this time, most, if not all, Annual Conference sessions of 2023 within the United Methodist Church connection in the United States and all across the globe are over. They completed the agenda and business of the conference and now heading back to their respective ministry setting to continue the Gospel work. The United Methodists seem to be moving forward with a deep sense of God’s leading them in such a time as this.
As people called United Methodists, we are called to participate in the mission of God. We find ourselves expressing gratitude to God, who loves all of God’s people and the whole creation. We do it not in isolation from each other but together as one body of Christ.
We support each other to accomplish God’s mission. In the Wesleyan tradition, we continually express support to one another by coming together as a Christian community. We gather in search and study of the Scriptures, prayer, Communion, worship, and service. As United Methodists, we observe these spiritual practices individually and corporately to help the whole Christian community experience God’s grace. John Wesley calls our coming together in holy conferencing and the observance of spiritual practices a “means of grace.”
In many instances, holy conferencing is used as a methodology to assist people in discussing complex and controversial issues where the group is not on the same mind or who are going to disagree but wants to handle it with respect and care towards each other. Holy Conferencing allows people to treat each other with love and equal opportunity to speak, listen, reflect, and act together in one accord despite differing viewpoints or apparent differences within the body. More importantly, this process recognizes God’s presence in our midst and affirms that we all are God’s children, equally loved by God.
Is holy conferencing all about a method of assisting people in having positive conversations on controversial topics? Is sharing love and respect amid differences and conflicts the ultimate goal of holy conferencing? Do our courageous conversations in holy conferencing lead to bold action for mission and ministry in the world? How can we make our holy conferencing a way to confirm our hope, build up our faith, and perfect our love for God, each other, and the world?
As we participate in God’s mission, let us be strengthened by the Scriptures that say, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14, NRSV).
UMH#579 – “Lord God, Your Love Has Called Us Here”
Lord God, your love has called us here,
As we, by love, for love were made;
Your living likeness still we bear,
Though marred, dishonored, disobeyed;
We come, with all our heart and mind,
You call to hear, your love to find.
Lord God, in Christ you set us free
Your life to live, your joy to share;
Give us your Spirit’s liberty
To turn from guilt and dull despair,
And offer all that faith can do,
While love is making all things new. Amen.