Getting serious: a message from Bishop Gary Mueller

Bishop Gary E. Mueller

Bishop Gary E. Mueller

It’s time to get serious about spiritual revival. Not by trying to make it happen, which we can never do. But by longing passionately for the Holy Spirit to do what we can never do—draw each of us into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, bind us together into a passionate movement of disciples making disciples, and enable us to share in Jesus’ work of transforming lives, communities and the world.

I am grateful for the laity and clergy of the Arkansas Conference who have been working to reverse our extended decline of recent decades. Sadly, however, things are not changing as much or as quickly as anyone would like, in spite of all their efforts. And so our Conference continues to become smaller and grow older, struggles to reach the young and fails to see lives, communities and the world transformed.

There are many reasons for this decline. Some we have little control over, like the rapidly growing secular culture in which we live. Others are fully our responsibility, like when we are so concerned with being comfortable that we fail to look beyond the walls of our churches to see those God is calling us to serve. But ultimately, the one that matters most is the fact that we are deeply mired in a spiritual crisis that is the result of our disconnectedness with Jesus Christ.

This is why I believe God is calling all United Methodist Christians in Arkansas—regardless of geographical location, theological conviction, church size, ethnicity or age—to get serious about spiritual revival like we’ve never been serious before.

It won’t be easy. The phrase itself conjures up all sorts of negative connotations for too many people. We’ll be tempted to try engineering a revival instead of receiving it from the Holy Spirit. And we may embrace spiritual revival as a way of saving an institution instead of giving God the chance to revive us as individuals, an annual conference and the people called United Methodists.

But revival is real, it matters and it results in serious transformation as you experience God’s unconditional, transformational and invitational love in brand new ways; embrace a life of deep life of discipleship; and discover revival’s fruit of service, compassion, joy and hope.

So I hope you’re ready to join me in getting serious about spiritual revival. First, because you’re going to be hearing a whole lot more about it in the coming months. Second, because it’s going to create vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped to transform lives, communities and the world. And third, because the Holy Spirit is about to bring it on!