Asbury Theological Seminary President Timothy Tennent wrote recently about his vision for the upcoming General Conference of the United Methodist Church. This story is excellent:
The true church is always characterized by prayer and a spirit of repentance. We have not been faithful to God. We need His grace in our midst. I was in Costa Rica in December and had the privilege of preaching at a general conference of all the Methodist pastors, District Superintendents and the bishop (Bishop Palomo). It was truly inspiring to see all these men and women on their faces before God weeping for the sins of their nation, asking God to have mercy on his church. I witnessed Bishop Palomo moving from pastor to pastor, praying for them and anointing them for renewed ministry. I felt like I was in the middle of a movement again – it was the 18th century all over again, but in Costa Rica.
I know that for some folks in our connection the idea of returning to the 18th century is nothing to get excited about. Indeed, we are being encouraged by some of our leaders to set aside any notion of “renewal” or recapturing of something that was lost.
They may be correct. There is certainly nothing about me or my ministry to suggest I am a brilliant strategist for United Methodist renewal. But I do find myself sharing some of Tennent’s enthusiasm for what he saw and experienced in Costa Rica.