In his Cabinet Address delivered on Sunday, Cabinet Dean Forrest Wells communicated that 2 Corinthians 4:7 is a favorite verse of his. He said that apostle Paul sums up “For we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Rev. Wells explained, “Treasure to many of us is stuff! But what is the treasure Paul refers to? Verse 1 of chapter 4 gives the answer: ‘Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.’ The ministry is treasure! Think of it, God has entrusted you and me to the ministry of representing God, ministers of a new covenant, of being instruments of reconciliation through the Holy Spirit; God’s very power working through us in Jesus Christ.” Wells continued, “One conviction I state without reservation is that everyone on your cabinet absolutely treasures the ministry of God that includes the call to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”

The cabinet is so enthused about the Launch Out! campaign, Wells stated. “We are excited about new faith plants that are launching, and have launched in each district. We grow excited about what new thing God can do in our Conference. We have even stooped to consorting with Minnesota Viking fans as we reach across Conference lines, and partner to offer Christ in our border communities. We celebrate almost 100 people trained so far in the Institute for Congregational Development and the Instituto De Desarrollo Congregacional. God’s treasure, the ministry of Jesus Christ, when unleashed, cannot be stopped!”

Some congregations may feel threatened by an emphasis on new faith outreach and new faith starts and ask, “what’s in it for me?”, Wells said. “In the graceful words of our always graceful Bishop, I would say, ‘O come on!’ Revitalization is a possibility! The cabinet stands ready to engage, support and resource any congregation that is seeking a new path in ministry,” he explained.

Rev. Wells said, “A significant component of offering Christ to the world is addressing mercy and justice needs in our communities, our state and our world. It’s not enough to talk Good News and grace; action is not an option. I am so excited about the action taken in so many of our local congregations to address local needs. As an Annual Conference, to launch out into fresh waters means that we must not only support existing mercy and justice ministries, we must look for new and meaningful ways to represent Christ in the world.”

In talking about the risky business of launching out, Wells said, “If we are not actively offering Christ through the building of new faith ministry, revitalizing current ministry, and caring for the real mercy and justice needs of our communities, we will just continue to die a slow death.”

He explained that district superintendents as mission strategists are also given the responsibility of holding clergy and congregations accountable for ministry. “We superintendents need to toughen up at times. We love you, and part of love is to help you clearly state expectations for ministry and hold you to your word,” he said.

Wells concluded his address by saying, “Ministry is precious; it is a treasure. Clergy and lay leadership, you are the treasure holders of the ministry of Jesus Christ. The cabinet is positioned to support you, encourage you and challenge you as we together to launch into the coming year.”

Read full Cabinet Address here. View slides here.