|It was nearly 25 years ago that I made a trip to Taiwan with David Williams and his brother John, to participate in the 40th Anniversary celebration of our ministry in Taiwan through Evangelical Friends Church – Eastern Region. Up until that time David and I had little contact with one another except for rubbing shoulders at various EFC-ER gatherings. During that trip David and I spent significant time together while John was involved with various meetings. The relationship we built in a matter of a few days was unique. We connected at a level that was surprising for the short amount of time we had together. |
Fast forward to the fall of 2017. I had finished my tenure at Derby Friends Church in the summer of 2016, and was praying about what ministry would look like in the future, then David contacted me to discuss the possibility of me joining the EFC-MA leadership team in a 1/4 time capacity to help out with the financial oversight of our yearly meeting. After praying about it for a few months and continuing to talk with David I joined the team in a 1/2 time capacity to focus on Stewardship and Foreign Missions. Now, 20 months later David and I are serving a co-superintendents.
As I reflect on the past 25 years I have to affirm that God began something way back then that He is bringing to fruition today. If it wasn’t for one week, years ago, David and I would not be working together today. There are a lot of other pieces to the puzzle I don’t have time to go into today, but few events in my life have been more clear that God is up to something, than this one. David and I have totally different skill sets and gift mixes, but God began sort of a “David and Jonathan” relationship years ago that He appears to be bringing to fruition today for some purpose. I am humbled and excited to be a part of what God is up to in EFC-MA these days.
But, it is not just EFC-MA where God seems to be at work. During the past year I have watched as the superintendents from across EFC-NA (Evangelical Friends Church-North America) have come together with a greater sense of unity and purpose than has ever occurred in the history of Evangelical Friends in North America. God seems to be up to something!
What exactly is He up to? I don’t think any of us can fully answer that question. But, we must affirm He is bringing pieces of the puzzle together to do something new among Evangelical Friends. This past week at the EFC-NA Coordinating Council meetings Matthew Cork, Supt. of EFC-SW, reminded us that a recent study reveals over 80% of the churches in the U.S. are in decline. Is that God’s desire for His church? I don’t think so!
So what does that mean for us? FIRST, it means we must seek God and His Kingdom first, (Matthew 6:33). SECOND, it means we must actively pursue His will for our future. It will likely mean some radical changes in our methods in order to reach a changing culture. Change is not easy for most of us, but it is a given if we are to be faithful to our call. Our message never changes. Our methods must change. THIRD, it will mean sacrifice. What are you and I willing to sacrifice that the Kingdom of God would come in fuller ways among Friends in Mid-America? It will likely mean sacrifice of time, finances, and old ways of doing things to reach a new generation. May God give us His wisdom and power…the wisdom to know what to do…and the power to do it.
As my friend, David says, “Lord, have mercy!”. Use us, O God, to turn the tide and bring about a new wave of revival in our day!
Thanks for allowing me to serve with you during these exciting days as we seek to answer the question, “What is God up to?”