“I need you, you need me
We’re all a part of God’s body
Stand with me, agree with me
We’re all a part of God’s body
It is God’s will that every need be supplied
You are important to me, I need you to survive
You are important to me, I need you to survive”
I Need You to Survive- Hezekiah Walker and The Love Fellowship Choir
The above-mentioned song popped up in my playlist during a drive across the districts last week. I Need You to Survive is a relatively older song, but I heard it anew considering all that is occurring around us. In hearing the song, it brought about a greater reminder for the power of our United Methodist Church, and when we operate within “The Connection” there is great impact in sharing Christ’s love and expanding God’s Kin-dom.
A recent example, at the beginning of April, is when St. Luke’s UMC in Indianapolis had an abundance of eggs remaining after their annual Easter Eggstravaganza. A servant leader from St. Luke’s UMC inquired if those remaining eggs could be shared with the community of Sullivan, as that community had recently experienced significant damage from the horrific storms that blew across Indiana. This servant leader connected with the pastor at Sullivan First UMC, drove almost two hours to deliver over 1,000 stuffed easter eggs. And on Easter morning, a community of children and their families were able to experience some normalcy of Easter amidst the storm cleanup efforts. This is one of a several examples for how our United Methodist Church can lean on the strength of our connection to make a difference in the communities around Indiana and beyond.
I also think about how our United Methodist Church, over thirty years ago, established an educational institution on the continent of Africa called Africa University. Over the last thirty years, Africa University has grown to over 10,000 alumni, a 97% graduation rate, and hosts representation from over 28 African countries. Africa University’s continued fruitfulness is because small, medium, and large-membership congregations in the United Methodist Church have mutually invested to have a remarkable impact on the lives of those we may not ever meet. To learn more, click here.
I know the last three years, we have been inundated with talks about disaffiliations, and congregations making the conscious decision to part ways from The United Methodist Church. As I have shared before, I will say it again, we pray God’s richest blessings for them to do the work of ministry God is calling them in this new season. However, for those of us who remain United Methodists (as there will not be any additional votes or conversations about disaffiliation in Indiana), it is time for us to refocus on what is most important as we move forward. It is time for us to recapture what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ, reclaim what is means to be a United Methodist, and recommit our time, talents, gifts, service, and witness. I would also encourage us to reconnect to United Methodist congregations in our immediate communities, knowing some communities will have fewer UMCs, but the possibilities of fresh expressions are springing up that are bearing the light of our United Methodist witness.
As it is said, “It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies…” To move forward, all are important, and we need all to advance the mission! I invite you to join me in praying for the strength of our connection, and how The United Methodist Church in Indiana emerges from the cloud of disaffiliations to begin collaboratively working towards truly transforming the world through the making of disciples.
In Service with you,
Rev. Dr. Aleze Fulbright
P.S. We are scheduling ReConnection events in August for the purpose of intercession, inspiration, and information. Please mark your calendars, as registration information is coming mid-May.