An event coming up on May 16-17 holds a lot of promise for those in the United Methodist Church who desire to experience renewal and revitalization for local congregations and the church as a whole.
It is a gathering hosted by the Aldersgate Covenant, a group of church leaders who were originally responsible for the development of the UMC’s mission statement: “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” The gathering will take place at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, over the course of a Friday evening and Saturday morning. The theme of the gathering is simple: 20 hours of prayer, worship and watching for a revival of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our Church.
I can’t emphasize enough how important I think this event could be. I’ve served on the planning team for it since early last Fall, and I can testify that the earnest desire of everyone who is behind it is that the gathering would simply be a time when we would give ourselves over to God in worship and prayer, that we might receive a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Online registration for the gathering can be done through the Aldersgate Covenant website. (It’s just $35 to register, which means the only real cost to attend is your travel.) You can find out some background on the Aldersgate Covenant by reading this helpful description by Mary Brooke Casad. A fuller mission statement for what the Aldersgate Covenant is doing right now can be found here: The Aldersgate Covenant: A Call to Spiritual and Missional Revival.
This May the gathering of the Aldersgate Covenant is going to attempt to go about the renewal of the church in a different way: by adopting the approach of awakening, repenting, asking, and watching. We cannot determine what the Spirit of Life will ever do with us or how, but we can place ourselves in a position where we are ready to receive the Holy Spirit when the Father and the Son send that Spirit to us. That’s what the gathering will be about, and it will take place through worship, prayer, preaching, and Eucharistic celebration. It will conclude with a Service of Covenant Renewal, that we might go back to our local contexts with a reassurance of our identity and mission in Christ Jesus.
This gathering is for pastors and laypeople. It is for young and old. It is for the hopeful and the heartbroken. It is for individuals and whole congregations. Visit the website and check it out. Then make plans to come.