The Free Methodist Church – USA elected three bishops at the plenary session of General Conference on Wednesday, July 17th.
I’m grateful to be among the global leaders of the Free Methodist Church – USA at this opportune moment. The winds of change are blowing, and I believe the wind of the Spirit is also blowing. As director of International Child Care Ministries, I’ve visited 39 of the countries where our Free Methodist family shines the light of the gospel, including broad exposure here in the United States. Wherever we press on to love God passionately and love people practically, beautiful things happen. Lost people experience God’s love and power; walls are broken down through the reconciling work of the cross; marginalized people are enfolded into the community of faith; children are welcomed and developed; leaders are empowered and raised up; and the mission of God becomes a life-giving, transforming force, both locally and globally. Since 1977, my heartbeat has been for racial reconciliation in the Body of Christ. I know in the depths of my being that if we want God’s favor in its fullest manifestation, we will find it in oneness. The Beloved Community heals its own members while spilling over to bring shalom to the surrounding city or town and region and extending the love and salvation of God to the ends of the earth. Let us be that community!
My life scripture is John 15:1–8. After 28 years of ministry in a wide variety of settings, I am deeply aware that apart from Him I can do nothing. Yet I can say with equal conviction that God has been so faithful to provide everything needed to “bear much fruit” as I abide in Him.
I pray fervently for our delegates as they choose our next bishops. We are living in a time of unprecedented challenges: pervasive secularism, rapidly changing social values, widespread divisiveness and polarization, and distrust of institutions — including the church.
Those who lead us must have the wisdom to discern the inherent opportunities created by these challenges. With our unwavering commitment to the authority of God’s Word, our Wesleyan heritage of personal and social holiness, and our long history of courageously confronting systemic evil, our tribe has the right message for the times.
Embracing lean and flexible structures, eliminating institutional impediments, and cultivating a passion for spiritual vitality, relational health, and leadership development, I envision a Spirit-fueled movement that unleashes the creativity of a new generation of Free Methodists and empowers every member of our tribe to take the light and life of Jesus Christ everywhere we go.
I understand leadership as both a spiritual gift and a sacred trust. Melanie and I have prioritized our personal commitments to Jesus and our marriage as the beginning points of our leadership influence.
After the model of Jesus, I further understand leadership to be servant-oriented. Our goal in the Pacific Northwest Conference has been to serve churches and leaders catalyzing a vision that together we are able to do more than in isolation. Care for pastors and members, stewardship of resources, and risking for mission have characterized the teams that I have led.
A responsible, Spirit-filled understanding of Jesus’ dual priorities of the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment requires of us regular evaluation of systems, structures and strategies. Our Wesleyan worldview contributes a special emphasis of holistic love and reconciling hope. I am confident that the Free Methodist Church still offers a unique gospel witness in the world as we live courageously into our calling.
Leadership is a privilege, and I am honored to be considered a nominee for bishop alongside four outstanding candidates. Melanie and I are at peace and in prayer as God’s will is revealed in this important process.