|Church leaders urged to think and act like Jesus|
Bishop Minerva Carcaño delivers the keynote address
to the 2008 United Methodist School of Congregational Development.
UMNS photos by Cassandra Heller,
Board of Global Ministries.
By Linda Green*
Aug. 4, 2008 | ORLANDO, Fla. (UMNS)
Christian leaders attending the 2008 United Methodist School of
Congregational Development were urged to live and act like Jesus Christ
as they seek to transform lives by expanding and revitalizing the
Bishop Minerva Carcaño, delivering her keynote address on "the spiritual
life of the Christian leader," also urged attentive listening to the
movement of God and surrendering self to impact the church and the
"The spiritual life of a Christian leader is a life that thinks and acts
like Jesus," Carcaño said during the July 31-Aug. 5 event sponsored by
the United Methodist boards of Global Ministries and Discipleship.
She spoke to 300 people in Orlando and 150 people watching by satellite
telecast in Grand Rapids, Mich. The two sites were linked for several
plenary addresses and services of worship throughout the six-day event.
The School for Congregational Development trains new church pastors and
includes educational tracks for bishops, district superintendents,
conference staff, pastors and church teams interested in starting new
churches and revitalizing existing congregations.
'Something about that name'
Carcaño juxtaposed the teachings of her grandmother, which helped her
become who she is today, with guidance from the Apostle Paul on relying
on Jesus Christ. Paul, in his writings from jail, focused on the joy
that comes from the name and presence of Jesus. Carcaño asked the crowd
to stand and sing the hymn that declares "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! There's
just something about that name."
Paul, she said, was able to keep his focus in the midst of spiritual
confusion, physical affliction and alienation from family, culture and
society. He suffered for the sake of serving God whom he had come to
know through Jesus.
The Rev. Bill Poland of Iowa worships during the Orlando session.
"Those in power had imprisoned Paul, attempting to chain his heart and
mind and beat him down into submission to their will. But Paul knew that
their kingdoms would pass away," Carcaño said.
Paul also knew that proclaiming the name of Jesus would put Christians
at odds with the world, but he admonished them to "do it anyway" and
"let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus."
Christian leaders, she said, are responsible for holding one another
accountable for having the mind of Christ. "Do we dare have the mind of
Christ, thinking and acting as he did," she asked. "Jesus knew that
getting us to that place of spiritual leadership with him would be no
easy feat … so he becomes one of us" in humility and obedience. Knowing
that spiritual leaders struggle to be who they are called, Jesus would
"show us how."
"We have no better teacher, no better guide, no better shepherd, than
Christ Jesus who calls us forth out in the world to live as he lived, as
spiritual leaders grounded in him, that the world may be transformed,"
Carcaño stressed that Christian leaders who think and act like Jesus
are not always in prominent positions in the church, but rather are
sometimes grounded in servant leadership. She cited a young pastor in
the mountains of the Philippines who began a new church for people
living in the higher elevations and a woman who washes the feet of
people at the Mexican border.
"When serving each other is ignored, our Christian living—and even more so our Christian leadership—becomes a sham," she said.
The bishop urged Christian leaders not to get caught up in the
"self-care" movement that reflects the priorities of a narcissistic
society. "Self care," she said, "is pretty common sense. ... Take care
of your life, for it is a gift from God. ... Sleep, exercise, eat right
and spend time with your loved ones."
The importance of our lives is found in our relationship with God who
created us for holy purposes, she said. "We find the significance of our
lives ... through relationships of love with others. In knowing that we
belong to Christ Jesus who has redeemed and reconciled us with God and
with each other, we are enabled to respond to both the joy and the
demands of love."
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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