"There is so much to do and never enough time to do it." I heard my mother use these words many times as young person, and they have stuck with me. Maybe that is one of the reasons I move at a fast pace; I'm trying to accomplish all I can for the Kingdom.
Well, it is September, but my mind is in February 2015 already. In February another group will be going to cross the bridge from North Georgia to Portugal. This trip will begin in earnest our plan of mission for our sisters and brothers in Portugal. As I have shared before, our 'mission trips' to Portugal are not your usual kind where we dig wells or build schools. Portugal is in great need but not of the traditional mission trip endeavors.
Portugal needs more pastors and better equipped laity to answer the call of Christ to make disciples. They have a heart that is aflame with the desire to grow the Church and to be vital to all. Our task (and we have chosen to accept it!) is to travel to Portugal with a team to offer the education and support to become such a Church. We will be taking a group of ten folks to serve as instructors in a Methodist Studies School and in a Lay Servant Ministries Training Event. Under the direction of our excellent License to Preach School directors, Robin Lindsey and Leah Cunningham, we will offer classes to possible clergy, equipping them with the tools to serve a congregation from the ground up. With the gracious presence of Janet Sligar and Dale Smith from Lay Servant Ministries and the Board of Laity, there will be an offering of the Basic Course and one advanced course for the laity to gain encouragement and power to be leaders ... servant leaders in the Methodist Church of Portugal.
Why am I telling you this now, so far out? I am sharing this with you in order that you might begin to pray for the success of this trip. Please pray that men and women will begin to feel the call of Christ to be pastors in this European country that needs the hope that only Jesus can bring. Please pray that the laity will be able to take the time off to sit and learn and then to be empowered to go forth. Please pray for the Team they might be able to raise the funds ($1,500) to make the trip. Please pray for safety and strength.
I am also sharing this with you, because there are other cost that need to be met. For each lay person to attend there is a cost of $40 for the material (which we are seeking to get translated into Portuguese). While we want the people of Portugal to invest in this time of training, we want cost to not be a deterrent. If your church would like to sponsor an individual for this time of learning, please feel free to make a donation to the District Office for "Portugal Mission Trip"
Finally, I am sharing information about Portugal now, because we need 50 churches in North Georgia to make a connection and be a Bridge Partner to Portugal. This means support in all possible ways including making contact with our sisters and brothers across the pond as well offering financial support from your Mission Budgets, if possible.
Please pray, please consider if your church might help, please ask your leadership to be a Bridge Partner, and please take some mission risks in a unique place that is ripe for the harvest. There is so much to do, and this is the time to do it.
Thanks for listening,
I am grateful to the clergy at Duluth First UMC for trusting me enough to invite me into the pulpit this past Sunday. This is a very vital congregation and doing a great work for the Kingdom.