Last week I had the opportunity to accompany a few leaders from our church who attended the Worship and Leadership Conference at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. This was our third year to attend and we always come away feeling blessed, renewed and challenged personally, and for greater ministry.
Two days later Pam and I had the honor of attending the WMF Oklahoma State Meeting in Langley with pastor Jack Nester and State Director, Jim McCool. Although we were only able to attend Friday night, I can truly say we had an amazing time with WMF family and friends. For the second time in a week, we walked away refreshed, challenged and empowered having been in the presence of God and his children who are called into ministry.
My point is, it’s important to take advantage of the opportunities we have to get together with like-minded ministers, especially in our WMF family. As we share stories, Scripture, prayer, the Holy Spirit and a lot of hugs, God draws us together and makes us stronger. The Gateway conference had around 4,000 in attendance while the Oklahoma State meeting had about 35, but I have to say we were richly blessed at both. Numbers do not dictate the richness of fellowship and the freshness of rejuvenation. Our attitude and the presence of God are the deciding factors, and I must say the relationships we have in WMF are more precious and powerful as any in a larger setting!
Don’t get me wrong, we are certainly on track to grow WMF in numbers, which is high priority. However, it’s only by the Spirit of God guiding us and good relationships encouraging us that true God-driven growth happens. People are drawn to a fellowship, much like a church, who have good relationships as a priority. And, like a church, people may come the first time because of great preaching, but they will return and become an actual part because of relationships.
The Big God we serve is a relationship God. He places the highest of priorities on our relationship with Him, and by extension, relationships with His children. It’s that greatest commandment thing: “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart…soul…mind…and strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30, 31). When Jesus was asked for the greatest commandment, He felt compelled to quote two. Why? Because to God they are inseparable!
Continue to be in prayer for WMF and each other, as well as for all those affected by recent hurricanes, earthquakes, and the tragic shooting in Las Vegas. We certainly live in a crazy world, but all the more reason to let our light shine!
At the time I’m writing this Hurricane Harvey has swept across Texas and is working its way across the southeastern U.S. leaving a path of destruction and massive flooding in its wake. And, by the time you read this, Hurricane Irma may have done something similar.
As you have already been informed via email, Facebook, website, etc., World Ministry Fellowship has a Hurricane Assistance Fund to help those in our fellowship, as well as possibly others outside of WMF. When Hurricane Katrina hit several years ago we were able to help several at that time, similarly we reactivated this special fund to do the same now.
When we refer to ourselves as “WMF family” we try to back up our words with action. It is hard to express the helpless feeling you get when faced with the nearly overwhelming task of managing clean-up, displacement, replacement, rebuild, insurance claims, etc., etc. But when you have God to cast all your care on and a good faith family to back you up, the burden is lightened and encouragement comes. That’s one of the greatest blessings of being a part of the Body of Christ. We are not alone!
One more thing to consider – as the news cycle moves onto other stories that make big headlines, the long, tedious process of clean-up and restoration will continue on for many months, even years in many cases. We must remember to keep on praying and even giving monetary gifts to help those who continue in this process.
Here in Missouri where I live, we have had four floods in the last eight years so we know a little about these things, but our experience pales in comparison to what has occurred in Texas and other places as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Storms in this life (even literal ones!) should cause us to simply look to our God who is able to “do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). And one way He does that is to reminds us…
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
Now, that’s the best way to calm the storm, no matter how big!