in the spirit of holy conferencing

warning: this is a highly methodist post.

this last week (well, from tuesday-saturday), i attended the greater nj annual conference of the united methodist church. we spent a lot of time in “holy conferencing,” voting on various resolutions, and delegates to the general and jurisdictional conferences in 2012.

while it is mostly business, and making important decisions, it is amazing to see the holy spirit at work when she decides to move. well, let me tell you — she moved. in ways that i couldn’t believe (the bishop couldn’t either…he was flabbergasted.) the GNJAC pledged to collect money for the United Methodist Aviation Ministries , in a special offering called “wings of the morning” which was originally set up for churches to take their spare change and roll it up and bring whatever money they collect. when the offering was taken, we all made paper airplanes, threw them around, and sang “i’ll fly away.” it was incredible.

this flight ministry provides means for critically ill persons in isolated areas in the democratic republic of the congo to reach medical facilities. the bishop challenged the churches to collect $100,000 to help go towards wings of an additional plane, which is more cost effective than the small one we have.

after the initial offering, there was only 80,000 collected. (i say only in preparation to tell you what happened).

well, some people were shocked. one man in particular asked for a moment of privilege as he said “$20,000 is nothing. i challenge you, to collect more.” well, as in the words of conference preacher mike slaughter, “money follows missions, not church budgets.”

people began getting up, saying that their congregation would donate $1,000.

others pledged $100 from their personal wallets. youth donated together to raise $500. people were going to have dinners. churches donated more money. hundreds upon hundreds of people got up, pledging money. my youth group will donate a percentage of the proceeds of our current fundraiser. people got up, by the rush of the holy spirit, saying “my church treasurer isn’t answering, but i am pledging $X.” it didn’t matter to them that the church might not want to.

we ended up pledging $195,000 TOTAL. and that doesn’t include people who will just humbly send a check.

the rest of conference was amazing (especially the ordination service), but the holy spirit sure did move. also, i’m not sure i’ve ever seen a bishop get so excited and say “praise god” so many times.

however, we should all praise god for the work of the missional church.

amen.

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