Excerpts from Bishop Gary E. Mueller’s episcopal address, June 15, 2015

Bishop Gary Mueller

Bishop Gary Mueller

I’m going to speak to you from my heart about what I believe is the most important of all the important issues facing us: “It.”

You’ve seen “It” firsthand—too many of our congregations becoming smaller and growing older, too many of our congregations struggling to reach the young, and too many of our congregations failing to see lives, communities and the world transformed by Jesus Christ. And, like you, that hurts my heart.

The “It” is the crisis of the “Good News” becoming “No News” for a world so desperately in need of God’s love. The “It” is knowing we have done our fair share to bring on this crisis because we have failed to embody Christ’s love, failed to deal with the church’s sins and failed to act as if we really do believe that Jesus Christ makes an eternal difference. The “It” is the fact that we live in a brand new reality we’ve never faced before—a rapidly and radically changing culture that just doesn’t seem to understand, need or want Jesus Christ or what his church offers.

And now, we have to decide what we’re going to do about “It.”

Well, I have a few ideas. We are going to refuse to panic and go into overdrive to “save” the United Methodist Church. We’re going to confess we cannot fix “It” on our own. We’re going to turn to God like we’ve never turned to God before. We’re going to listen to God—I mean really listen to God. And we’re going to hear God saying, “Hey, you! You! It’s time to understand that ‘It’ is a spiritual crisis and you need a spiritual solution.” And, then, because we have heard God and been moved by God, we’re going to get serious about spiritual revival like never before.

You’ll know you’re experiencing spiritual revival when a group of people in your church—it doesn’t have to be everyone—when people begin to fall deeply in love with Jesus…. When you change from being a group of individuals into a movement committed to engage the mission field… when people start asking you, “What in heaven’s name is going on in your church?”

I believe with everything I’ve got that God is calling all United Methodist Christians in Arkansas—regardless of geographical location, regardless of theological conviction, regardless of church size, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of age—to get serious about spiritual revival like never before.

And that’s why I am inviting you—and I’ll be honest, if necessary, I’ll urge, prod, and cajole you (they teach you that in bishops’ school)—to join with your sister United Methodist congregations in a conference-wide movement we’re calling “Get Serious About Spiritual Revival….” And here’s a brief overview of how we’re going to do it.

We’ll begin preparing this fall.

We’ll begin seriously and intentionally praying for spiritual revival Jan. 1, 2016, New Year’s Day, although you can start right this moment.

We’ll be preaching about God’s unconditional, transformational and invitational love the three Sundays before Lent.

And we’ll get serious about discipling through small groups by getting as many people as possible involved in a group during the Lenten season.

And then, each of you, in each of your churches, will let God lead you as you begin discerning what’s next in your congregation, and that begins in the days immediately following Easter.

I believe we truly are at one of those defining moments in history during which this church we love so much can become the church Jesus has created us to be: a church with an attitude.

Excited—because we know this is an amazing moment of opportunity to welcome Jesus again into our lives, our church and our world.

Humble—because we know we need Jesus just as much as those in the mission field around us.

Committed—because we are willing to give everything for the one who gave his all for us.

Passionate—because we’ve been touched by the Holy Spirit in a way that changes everything about everything.

Joyful—never forget joyful!—because we’ve been invited by Jesus himself to join in this movement.

Expectant—because we see it already beginning to happen.

Let’s get serious about spiritual revival like never before. Let’s yearn deeply for spiritual revival like never before. Let’s experience spiritual revival like never before.

Come, Holy Spirit, come!