Connections — that which keeps relations a family, and a group a community.
It seems so true, at least in my birth family, that each person plays a role or has a function. Mary and Steve take the job of organizing family events to bring us together. Any reason for a family function will do. They let us know where, when, and what to bring. Frank, the eldest, has been the letter writer to keep us informed. Yes, actually paper and pen with a stamp letter-writing. When in the southwest and miles away from Wisconsin, it has always been a blessing to receive one of Frank’s letters. Dave, the youngest of the siblings, keeps us posted and connected via Facebook. He helps us hear about life and see posts and pics about adventures and achievements.
And my role? I think it is to respond! So great to hear from you…you can count me in…I am on my way…what can I bring…what can I do…you are the best!
The United Methodist Church has created a structure to keep our connection alive. The committees or ministry teams of the local church have been mirrored in the District, the Conference, the Jurisdiction, and then the General Church. The communication and ideas move through these teams connecting one to another. The General agencies have offered resources to the layers of ministry teams across the structure.
However, in these changing times, we are experiencing this process and way of structuring and being the church as decreasingly effective. In many ways, much of that system has been dismantled, but we have not created other intentional ways of connecting. If we do not, then we will surrender one of our major points of vitality — connecting one body to another as a way to exponentially expand and increase our effectiveness in ministry.
Let us be intentional about our Cross-Connections. Not by creating structure, but rather by networking in more organic ways which reflect the context of the ministry and the unique giftedness of individuals and congregations. Let us choose to be Cross-Connected and share our ministry ideas, possibilities, and initiatives in the neighborhoods where we are located and in connection.
This connectional networking can happen between
- Disciples, lay and clergy
- United Methodist Church Ministries
- Other Churches and Faith Communities
- Community Organizations and Institutions
- Corporations and Family Businesses which share a common vision for the people of our communities
If it is not the machine of the church structure making the connection happen, then it must be the effort and role for each one of us. May this season of Lent be a time to cross-connect with our siblings in the faith. Reach across the miles, across the street, or across the pew and connect. Find ways to support and encourage our connectional ministry.
With whom will your next cross-connection be?
On the Road with
To read the North District lay leader’s article, “Supportive, empathetic companion and friend,” click here.
To read the information on “The North District connection shares love and compassion.” click here.