Growing up I had some friends who made a point of telling their children as they went off to college, “Remember, you’re a Gilmore.” The message was understood that as the kids went off school there were certain personal qualities Mr. & Mrs. Gilmore sought to instill in their children that they expected to be planted in the adults their kids became. They were to be kind, thoughtful of others, live within their means, be hard workers, and people who care for those whom God had placed in their lives.
Since those early days in my life I think back to the “Remember, you’re a Gilmore,” and it challenges me to wonder what I would have taught my children, if I had been blessed with any. What did you or do you tell your children as they grow up and leave your home?
At the 2017 Session of the Desert Southwest Conference we affirmed a Vision Statement that calls us to “Remember, you’re part of the DSC!” We’ve adopted vision statements and slogans before, so what makes this one different? First, it was developed at a grassroots level. You, your pastors, your delegates were all invited to give input into the Vision. Second, the Vision has the ability to shape your (our) actions. Here is the Vision Statement:
God is calling us to be a Courageous Church: Loving like Jesus, Acting for Justice, United in Hope.
If you want to examine a decision you are making and you want to know if it will empower you to be a courageous church or a courageous person, ask the question – Does it enable me to love the way Jesus would love OR does this work for justice OR does it unite people? Sometimes making decisions that enable you to intentionally say yes to one of those questions takes courage and reveals who you are to others.
Habakkuk 2:2 (NRSV), has these words for us:
Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision; make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
“Remember, you’re a Gilmore,” I heard my friends say. Now I hear a new challenge, “Remember, you’re part of the DSC!”
In the days ahead I would ask that you deliberately pray for ways for the Vision to become a reality in your life, in the life of your church, in the ministry of the Annual Conference. Put a copy on the refrigerator on in your car or on your computer. Look at it often. Pray it often. Then as you go out to do whatever it is that you will do that day, remember who you are. Remember the personal qualities that are the benchmarks of who we are corporately as the people of the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Let the vision be known in your words and your actions, in public and in private. Let it be seen in the grocery store and at work or school. Let it be seen in every moment of your life.
Remember, you are part of the Desert Southwest Conference!