I am thinking that an amazing God deserves an amazing church. In these days following the Easter miracle, I am again impressed by the immensity of the love and grace of our God, so loving this world that Jesus was sent to atone for our sins, but more than that, to empower and engage us to be the body of Christ for the world! The resurrection was no ending, but a new beginning. Our God is an amazing God. Can we respond in any way that is less than to be an amazing church?
You probably know my vision and my passion. I wish to see our church reach any and all people who do not know our God and our Savior, Jesus the Christ. Be they poor or rich, weak or strong, whole or broken – I want all brothers and sisters to receive the gift of God’s abundant love and grace – and in every way, I want people to know this grace through the people called United Methodist in Wisconsin.
I see thousands of opportunities to create new ministries throughout our conference. New generations of people, new immigrants, disillusioned former believers and energized new seekers could benefit so much from the love and grace of God, and we have almost unlimited opportunities to be agents of such love and grace.
I see hundreds of congregations striving to be faithful, though they struggle. I believe in an amazing God that can turn around stuck and stagnant ministries and breathe new life into our long-time churches. Our God is greater than death! Certainly our God is greater than our constraints, concerns and limitations. There is nothing God cannot do through dedicated and committed people.
I see marginalized, hurting, hungry, frightened, lost, and despairing people in every community who seek multiple levels of salvation and care. We Wisconsin United Methodists have an unlimited supply of compassion, mercy, kindness, generosity, and faith to address these challenges and create the possibilities for justice for all. We can stand with the poor, the oppressed, the destitute, and the hopeless to create a new future filled with God’s love and grace.
We can be an amazing church for an amazing God. Can you begin to put a value to the gifts, knowledge, skills, talents, time, energy, commitment, concern, and faithfulness of the men and women, old and young, who call themselves United Methodist in this state? What wealth. What abundance. What possibility!
We will be talking a lot about Launch Out! in the next months and years. Some may want to dismiss this as a simple funding campaign for ministry. Yes, on the most basic level it is about funding and resourcing ministry, but it is not merely a program of our Conference. Launch Out! is an invitation to be an amazing church. In a time of growing need and seemingly limited resources, it is a declaration of faith that we will do what God needs us to do. It is a commitment to become the very best church we can be. It is a way for us to dream big dreams and to discern God’s vision for God’s people. It is, quite simply, a chance to be an amazing church for an amazing God! Hallelujah.
Grace and Peace,
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).