While the local church schedule tends to slow down during the month of July, Denominational activities are in full swing. In July, Pastor Audrey and I will travel with six others from HCOB to National Youth Conference in Fort Collins, CO. As many of you know, NYC can be quite the mountaintop experience for our youth as they experience God in a special way through deeply engaging worships, small groups, workshops, and service projects. They also develop an amazing sense of Christian community as they bond with other Brethren over games of four-square and hiking trips. Pastor Audrey and I have the privilege of preaching on Tuesday evening July 24 during NYC’s worship that features anointing. Those of you not attending in person should have the opportunity to watch a webcast of the worship service. Our Theme is “True Peace” and connects to the overall conference theme of “Bound Together: Clothed in Christ.” We are at a time in Christian history where we almost prefer to be divided. To have unity alongside someone with whom we disagree is deemed a worthless effort. But Christians ought to embrace a unity in Christ above our other preferences. Maybe our youth can lead the way on this (I think they already are, so let’s not divide up the church before we give them a shot at repairs).
Some of you might have read that one of the main items of business for the next several years at Annual Conference is to develop a new common, compelling vision for the denomination. For too many years we’ve argued about things that divide us, but many of us believe that Jesus has a compelling vision for the whole Church to rally around that will unite us. In the years ahead, we will engage in a process of discernment for what that might be. So, I invite those of you who remain in Hagerstown this July to pray for the participants at NYC and Annual Conference to discern wisely the movement of the Spirit as it seeks to unite us in Jesus Christ our Lord.