Living Our New Mission Statement

It’s time to re-align.

A few years ago, I disconnected from my UMCG faith community. Several factors contributed to my disconnection. (I was no longer on staff. I wasn’t sure where I fit in. I was weary and frustrated by the UMC denomination as a whole.) 

I continued to explore my faith through my own efforts, but over time, I got complacent. I lost the momentum and had no motivation to wake up and head to worship every Sunday – a habit I had adhered to for at least 25 years. 

This past year, I began to re-connect and have been part of UMCG’s Moving Forward Team. I have participated in body but, I recognize, I have not been ALL IN.

This morning, I was journaling and reflecting on how I am lacking the oomph, the energy, the motivation to really sink into deepening my faith.  As I started to write out a prayer, “Dear Lord, kick me in the butt to get me going again….” – Rosie, our roomba vacuum, started whirring. I had not initiated this, nor was anyone else home at the time.

She didn’t go full-out and vacuum the room. She backed up from the charger with just enough space to complete a full circle before she made adjustments and corrections in alignment to get reset into her charger. I chuckled. Wow, really God?  OK, I get it. 

In order for Rosie to live out her purpose of picking up dog hair and other debris from our floor, she needs to be aligned with her power source and spend time getting re-fueled. Only then can she set out into the world that is my family room and do her thing.

Rosie has rarely been able to complete her job of vacuuming the entire family room without needing assistance. She complains that the debris has built up inside and needs to be emptied.  When this occurs, she returns to her energy source charging station and declares,  “Dust bin is full”.  She waits patiently for assistance to clear out unnecessary detritus before continuing her journey. On some occasions, she needs to refuel before completing her task. Rosie knows what her purpose is.

Hmm, I get it God. How can I go out in the world and illuminate Your grace, if I have not taken the time to allow You to fill me first?  How can I lovingly accept, listen to and serve all – if I haven’t lovingly accepted, listened to, and served myself first? Not in a self-centered way, but in a refueling way. Perhaps it is through reading scripture, attending worship, participating in a study or service project, music, meditation, undistracted walks, or breaking bread with others. And, what about the junk and worldly distractions that are consuming me day in and day out? How can I clear that out to make space for Your grace and unexpected blessings.

UMCG has proclaimed our mission to be that “We illuminate our community with God’s grace as we lovingly accept, listen to, and serve all in the Spirit of Jesus.”

How can we live into this? I feel we must not neglect the internal work necessary to help clarify our path to spread God’s grace to our community while we welcome opportunities to listen respectfully to one another, accept others into our hearts and homes, and discern the others’ needs and meet them where they are. 

I wish I had a charging station to plug into, but in a way, I do. I just need to make the time to connect with God in a way that resonates with me that day. Some days it will be a walk, or a chat with a trusted friend, or a bible study discussion, or a service project, or planning a relational event, or even just going about my day with a mindful focus to recognize when God is showing me something.

  • What debris is taking space in my life, and my thoughts, and my heart that I can relinquish?
  • How can I spend time with God one-on-one to fully embrace His love for me?
  • Where can I illuminate this love outward to elicit a smile, provide relief, or offer encouragement?
  • When can I find time to listen to another without my own agenda?
  • In what ways can I use the gifts and talents God has blessed me with to serve others?

I’m glad I am not alone in this mission, and I am grateful to have my UMCG family to keep me connected.

Let’s get creative, get ready, get out, and shine God’s light of love and acceptance and grace.

Jami Johnson,

Guest Blogger, Moving Forward Team