By Bishop Gary E. Mueller
I made a statement about 18 months ago that I am even surer of today: The only way United Methodist Christians of Arkansas can be the disciples that Jesus calls us to be and grow the number of vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped to transform lives, communities and the world is to build upon the foundation of spiritual revival.
This is not a strategy to reverse the decline of our denomination. It is fact. It is not something we engineer. It is something we passionately seek, receive as a gift from the Holy Spirit and embrace as the essence of our identity. It is not just another “damn conference program” that we have to fit in. It is the realization we are at our best when we allow God to lead.
So how are we doing with spiritual revival?
I have heard incredible stories that show the richness and variety of spiritual revival. From unexpected professions of faith to long-time members taking a huge leap in discipleship. From congregations reaching out to serve their neighbors to historically segregated churches becoming a place where racial reconciliation is beginning to occur. From churches that were dying on the vine to those very churches being vital the next year.
Yet transparency demands that I also share what I think you already know. We have a long way to go. A long, long way. And it’s why I am talking about spiritual revival—again—in a very specific way.
I want to ask you to make a commitment to join me and thousands of other United Methodists throughout the state of Arkansas in praying for spiritual revival during the month of February.
Spend five minutes a day praying for revival.
Invite five other people to pray five minutes a day for spiritual revival.
Invite five different people to join you for group prayer once a week.
And if the Holy Spirit moves you, consider fasting five times during the week.
We are joining together in this kind of concerted prayer effort for a very simple reason: We want to experience more of Jesus’ love, we want others to experience the same love we have and we want to be the kind of disciples who can’t wait to pray for this to happen.
So will we? Honestly, I don’t know. And that’s okay. Because the Holy Spirit will do exactly the thing we need at the exactly the time we need it in exactly the way we need it.
Grace and peace,
Gary E. Mueller