Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill[a] the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NRSV
The roots of The United Methodist Church extend back in time to the founding of the United States. The Church of England had recalled their clergy during the American Revolution, and John Wesley called for ordination of those wishing to serve the American Colonies. A good portion of this new set of clergy often travelled great distances to bring the word of God to citizens of our new nation. These “Circuit Riders” were a tangible connection between the colonies of our new nation.
Today, we have servants of the church that often travel great distances to serve large geographic areas or densely populated regions through our Annual Conferences of The United Methodist Church. These new “Circuit Riders” carry with them the connectionalism of our Denomination, providing ministries like the coordination of our youth programming, stewardship and church growth programs, and mission projects in your neighborhood and around the world.
Every local United Methodist Church is a part of this Connection that strengthens our Denomination and gives us all the opportunity to have an impact. We are a part of a larger family of God, serving with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Through our connection as United Methodists, we are a force for good. We feed those that are hungry in Detroit, clothe the needy in Tallahassee, provide essential social services in villages of Estonia, missionary training in the Congo, and training for employment in the Philippines. These are just a few of the many ministries that every local church collectively serves.
Our “Circuit Riders” of The United Methodist Church are changing the world, and your Annual Conference is an essential part of this network. In our next Spiritual Giving message, we will explore how one Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church is reimagining its connection to local churches and discovering their common purpose in serving to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.