Bishop on a mission – alongside all of us

Bishop’s Mission Plan involves laity, clergy, congregations, Conference and a changing culture

In mid-September 2013, Bishop Gary Mueller announced a 10-point Bishop’s Mission Plan that invites every United Methodist in Arkansas into the next steps of the Conference-wide Imagine Ministry journey. As part of the plan’s launch, he spoke recently with Arkansas United Methodist editor Amy Forbus.

We heard the beginnings of this plan at the 2013 Annual Conference, didn’t we?

Yes, the joint Episcopal-Lay Address that Karon Mann and I presented contained the seeds of the plan. I’ve done some rearranging and refining, but much of the groundwork was laid this spring, as Karon and I worked together to discern what message God would have us convey to the people gathered at Annual Conference. And that’s how much of it should be carried out—as a collaborative effort between clergy and laity. We’re in this together.

You’ve framed the 10 items as assignments for different groups of United Methodists in Arkansas—laity, clergy, congregations, district superintendents. Why?

Well, a 10-point plan is ambitious, but achievable, especially when we can break it down into bite-sized pieces. The pieces themselves may still be big, but I believe God expects big things from us, and rightly so.

We have a lot of work to do, and it helps to identify where the work begins. If we share the load, I think we can begin to see some significant progress across Arkansas in just a few months. The whole process will take years, and we will make course corrections along the way, but it’s beyond time to get started.

If you could visit individually with each person in the Arkansas Conference and share a message about this Mission Plan, what would it be?

I would emphasize that while the plan is about big change, it’s also up to us as individuals to make it happen.

As disciples of Jesus, we all need to take seriously what he wants us to do: to make disciples, who make disciples, who go on to transform the world in his name. We have no reason to wait any longer to take action. Our calling is clear. Let’s go!

Read Bishop Mueller’s Mission Plan and discover your part in it

PHOTO: During the sermon at his Sept. 9, 2012, installation service as episcopal leader of the Arkansas Area of the United Methodist Church, Bishop Gary E. Mueller challenged those gathered to roll up their sleeves and get to work. “Imagine you are never alone,” he said. “Imagine the support, imagine the partnership, imagine what it’s like to be filled and in community and going out to serve. And then not only imagine it, do it!”