EPISCOPAL GREETINGS to the MONROVIA DISTRICT CONFERENCE
The District Superintend, Clergy and Laity, Monrovia District Conference, Liberia Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church, Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
I bring you greetings of peace in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Thank you very kindly for acquainting me with the hosting of your District’s 161st Annual Session.
The theme you have selected for this year’s celebration: “Developing Healthy Congregations through Spiritual Leadership” based on Galatians 5: 16-26, is a very interesting one and brings many things to mind. Considering your theme, one may be wondering whether it is in the medical, physical, or spiritual sense: Whatever the case is, we know that the spiritual supersedes all (John 3:31). It has been proven times without number, that a person who is spiritually healthy having been refined and transformed by the power of God, is in a better shape” than one who has any other form of health, but is spiritually bankrupt.
Having said that, we can safely say that the text under consideration, suggests two key questions, the first being, what are some of those things (practices) that cause a congregation to be healthy? In order to find an answer to this question, let us first ask the next question which would be what could be those practices which have the propensity to render the congregation unhealthy? The answer (s) can be found in verses 19-21: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strive, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and the likes (King James Version).
Now that we have discovered in the text, those” things that’ make the congregation unhealthy, let us now consider what can be done to help develop healthy congregations in a spiritual sense. Having discovered the practices that render the congregation unhealthy, the next thing to do is to make up one’s mind to do away with them, and this can only be done when Jesus Christ is Lord of your life and the entire congregation. Upon one’s request, Christ comes in with the Holy Spirit of God, to dwell in your life. When the Holy Spirit comes in, he brings along: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Gal. 5:22-23, KJV).
Let me therefore admonish all of you my fellow United Methodists and Co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard, that we prioritize the things of the spirit, if our congregations are to become healthy. Let us ensure that the church of Jesus Christ has the right kind of spiritual leadership in place.
I wish you a successful 161st Annual Session and hope to celebrate the occasion with you.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. John G. Innis
Resident Bishop. LAC-UMC