When Wesleyans get together, there is a great sense of renewal that happens. In the past three months, the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division has hosted almost one thousand leaders for training and inspirational events. Participants have come from all over North America, and some have come from around the world. Young and old, male and female, pastors and lay persons, and representatives from various-sized churches have gathered at these events. The crowd has been very diverse.
There is one perception I’ve been reminded of as I’ve been honored to attend and help lead most of these events: the over-arching perspective of being renewed. In fact, Renuevo, our event for Hispanic pastors and their families, was recently held at Southern Wesleyan University. Renuevo means “renewal” in Spanish.
Here is what is renewed when we get together:
- The reminder of Christ’s love and goodness for us is renewed when we get together with like-minded disciples. We realize we are not alone. Everyone needs a good reminder that God loves them. This obviously comes through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Yet when we realize what others mean to us (even though we haven’t seen them in years), God’s gifts of love for us is very real through our relationship with him and others.
- Friendships are renewed when we get together. I love events because of this solitary factor. Over time, deep friendships are developed when we have opportunity to spend time together. It is somewhat comical, but when you have so many friends at an event, it is difficult for them to get to the start of the sessions on time. Lost time needs to be made up, and updates need to be listened to. The renewal of friendships is crucial to let each other know that someone else is praying and wishing for every success to take place in the other person’s life.
- Renewed vision and purpose are valuable outcomes when we get together. When we hear what God is doing in family and ministry life from others, we are reminded about the power of God and the ultimate purpose in life: to love him with all of your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37) and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). If someone else can believe God, so can I. If someone else can stay faithful to one’s commitment to Christ, so can I. If others I am catching up with share their enthusiasm for serving the Lord, that rubs off on everyone listening.
We need God to be renewed. We are often renewed by others with whom we go through the events of life. We need each other and others need us. Be sure not to isolate yourself. Make the effort to get to an event that you are interested in attending. If it is a Wesleyan event, at least two things will happen. First, you will be inspired and informed. Second, new and older friendships will be encouraged and renewed.
!Via con Dios! (Go with God!)
Dr. Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.
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