Author Archives: rob.haynes

Leaders, Don’t Miss the Opportunity in the Crisis

By Rev. Dr. Rob Haynes

Leaders around the world are feeling the effects of our global crisis on many fronts. Yet, the current situation does not need to be debilitating. Innovative leaders see a crisis as a catalyst, not a cause for despair. Crises are critical junctures that can provide unique opportunities for needed change. This is especially so for the church today.

Experts tell us that we might be dealing with the challenge of COVID-19 for some time. As the pandemic goes on, many church leaders are talking less about a rush to return to the way things were before lockdowns began. It is important to use this occasion to make important decisions about how to operate going forward in the context of today’s realities. Those questions are more than if the church will have online or in-person worship—or some combination of the two. Rather, these are much bigger questions: What have we stopped that should not be restarted because it was not healthy? What new things can we implement to meet the challenges we face? How can we re-engage a gospel-centered mission of discipleship and evangelism? 

The Greek word for crisis signifies a “turning point, judgement, or selection” and is rooted in the notion of sifting grain to separate the good from the bad. The current crisis presents leaders with many difficulties, trials, and harsh new realities. However, in all of those there are new opportunities for faithful and effective ministry, including:

Re-engaging the biblical model of discipleship

Churches that emphasize the Sunday morning service as the primary—or only—form of discipleship are struggling. The model that puts the pastor and the sermon as the main disciple-making time has been exposed and found lacking. In many parts of the world, there is a great deal of uncertainty about when churches will be able to legally and safely meet again in its pre-COVID designated worship space. Some in the congregation may insist that meeting in a crowded sanctuary is the only way to go to church. However, the command of Scripture is not to make pew-sitters, but to make disciples.

The New Testament’s primary example of Christian discipleship is smaller communities gathered in homes for meals, for prayer, and for study (for example: Acts 20:20, Romans 16:5, Colossians 5:15). The apostles discipled and equipped the leaders of house churches to lead their own communities of faith. Pastors have a unique opportunity when people are open to a model like this. It is critical that we abandon the model of the pastor as the only disciple maker. The most effective leaders will use this time to train leaders to disciple households and small groups. The current crisis provides a prime occasion to identify the gifts for ministry in the community of believers and put them to use in this way.

Living like Methodists

A richness of the heart of the Methodist movement is the desire for a biblical engagement of heart and mind that leads to ministry with people in need. The economic fallout of the pandemic will continue for years to come. Countless numbers have suffered a job loss or a reduction of income. Many need assistance with food and housing. Mental health needs are on the rise. Following Jesus in the way of the Methodists means serving the hurting communities around us. Is your church spending more time and energy on producing another slick Sunday online service or meeting the needs of those who are hurting?

Engaging the questions and conversations

Many people, religious or not, want to know why this happened. They want to know where God is in all of this. They are asking larger questions about life, meaning, and purpose. Non-believers and mature Christians alike are wrestling with big issues. Make space for people to ask honest, difficult questions. Do not be afraid of them or the questions, rather bring people to the gospel’s answers. This is an important opportunity to share and show the love of Jesus in our discussions.

Being a resource

In a world of seemingly limitless information, curate a “library” of sound biblical resources for discipleship and share these resources with your people. The current political and social climate lends itself to the spread of a great deal of misinformation. Help others use biblical discernment to evaluate material they find online and in print. Don’t surrender that work to Google. 

Winston Churchill is credited with saying, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” It is important that the church not miss this unique chance to let unhealthy habits die and to seed new ones. Leaders, don’t miss the opportunity in the crisis.

The World is Our Parish by Rob Haynes

The founder of our Methodist movement, John Wesley, is often celebrated for declaring that “The World is my parish…” This quote has inspired many to serve in ministry around the world. However, most contemporary Methodist churches do not organize themselves in parishes the way Wesley’s church did. What did Wesley mean when he said this? What does it mean to see the world as our parish today?

First, we need a little background. As the son of an Anglican priest, Wesley grew up in a parish church. He served as a parish priest. After his life-changing experience on Aldersgate Street in London in May 1738, Wesley’s preaching was considered so radical and controversial that he was banned from the pulpit in the Anglican church. Wesley was now a priest with no parish. It was then that Wesley began to practice ministry in ways that would, for him, redefine “parish.”

Though he had no pulpit of his own, he still saw the great need for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout England, particularly to the poor and working classes. In a radical departure from the current practice, he preached in the fields, the city squares, and outside the coal mines to anyone who would hear. In doing so, he was changing what it meant to minister to a particular community. Some accused Wesley of crossing parish lines and therefore “trespassing” on the work that belonged to the priest assigned to that geographic area, i.e. parish.

When responding to critics of his radical methods of ministry, Wesley said, “I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, [it is my] duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation. This is the work which I know God has called me to; and sure I am that his blessing attends it.” (from Wesley’s journal entry on 11 June 1739).

To understand what he means by this, we need to look a bit closer at how the church understood the “parish” in that particular time period and how it remains true for many today. The idea of organizing a parish is rooted in three important principles:

  1. Provide a Christian Presence for all

The parish system was designed to provide a Christian presence everywhere in the land. Geography defines a parish. By the simple fact that a person lived in that geographic area, they were deemed to have access to that church—in all its facets: that was your church on Sundays and holidays, and for your baptism, your wedding, your funeral. The parish church was a sign of Christ’s welcome, work, and ministry in every aspect of life for every person who lived there.

  1. All deserve the care of the church

This means that the church, and therefore the parish priest, had the responsibility for the people who live there. The priests were to minister to the people in every part of their lives, and therefore could not minister only to those whom they chose or whom they deem worthy of their time and interest. Rather, the parish was intended to signify that a relationship with God is available to all. As such, the church has an obligation to care for all. All includes the people that you don’t always get along with. All includes the people that you find difficult to love. All includes those who have a different background, heritage, or ethnicity.

  1. The Church is both Global and Local

Each community had, by default, a church in it. At the same time, the Church is universal: it exists beyond one’s own neighborhood, town, or village. Yet, it is particular to each neighborhood, town, and village and each person in it. The Church is global in that we are connected to the witness of Christians on every continent and in every land. And we are particular. None of us who live outside a community can minister in that situation the same way that a local church can, though we all have a part to play. And no one can minister in your community the way you can. You have a unique role to play in ministry, and the global church has a part to play too. This should be celebrated and embraced.

The strength of the early Methodist revival was that it was a movement that emphasized personal and social holiness that could only come through authentic Christian discipleship. Mr. Wesley was willing to break down the limits of the traditional parish to share that message. Modern Methodists, who are not bound by the limitations of the parish of Wesley’s time, can use these same principles for mission and evangelism. For many of us today, communities are not defined by geography like the parish of Wesley’s era, but by common interests. We tend to spend time with those who like the same things we do or visit the same places. We might know much more about the people on our soccer team, in our book club, or at the gym than we know about the people who live on our street. These places can be seen as a modern parish, so to speak. A recognition of each of these foundations of parish ministry can inspire us to share Christ’s love in the different kinds of communities we find ourselves today.

Ministry in the Newly Distanced Church-Part 2

By Rev. Dr. Rob Haynes

Part 2 of 2

In my previous article, I talked about some ways the newly distanced church can think about worship, discipleship, and outreach in the still-developing COVID-19 crisis. Ministry in the Newly Distanced Church Part 1. In this article, I offer some practical steps to consider for discipleship and outreach as churches reopen and move into a new way of doing church.

Don’t let the numbers intoxicate you. Pastors can often be tempted to measure their impact by the sheer numbers of attendees in a church service, Bible study, or ministry program. The move to an online environment has meant strong growth for some; do not let it lead you into temptation. It has also meant sharp declines for others; do not let that discourage you. Online resources provide new tools to measure views, hits, likes, retweets, etc. Preachers who only reached a few dozen people during in-person worship services may now seem to be reaching thousands. However, these numbers can be deceptive. Use reliable tools to help interpret what exactly those numbers mean. Most importantly: resist the temptation to chase numbers for numbers’ sake. Rather, provide solid biblical teaching and let the Lord bring the increase. Each one of those numbers represents real people whom leaders are commanded to teach to abide in Christ.

As people join, so they will become. The old adage holds a great deal of truth about sociology: The way people join a group are the type of members they will become. When new members are expected to make a meaningful commitment to join a church, they are more likely to live out that commitment as disciples in that church. While churches have gotten creative in providing worship opportunities in the COVID era, challenges remain for making newcomers a part of the church community. While it is wonderful that people can watch church services from the comfort of their favorite chair at home during lockdown, this type of engagement requires little commitment or connection to the worshipping community. Church leaders should carefully consider how they will ask people to demonstrate both a personal and social holiness that includes building one another up through mutual learning, service, and encouragement.

New spaces for new people. One way to ask people to remain in those worshipping communities is by creating new spaces for new people. Simply trying to revitalize the same old way of doing things will not work anymore. (Have we seen the end of the church potluck as we knew it?) We have all been forced to do new things in new ways. Is your church seeing strong growth in online small group ministries? How can this be an intentional part of your new ministry reality? Has your community found a way to care for people despite social distancing? How will you create new places to continue to disciple those people? Look carefully at how people are engaging in these new spaces and seek to show and share the love of Jesus in those spaces.

Celebrate the connection. I know this may sound crazy at first, but perhaps the best thing you can do for someone is to ask them not to join your church. If someone found your church online but does not live in your community—and therefore cannot attend services and discipleship opportunities—consider asking them to find a church home in their own town. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the connectionalism we cherish in Methodism. Contact your colleague in that person’s town and tell them of the situation and ask them to reach out. There is a richness to having a pastoral connection close to home that cannot be replicated in the online environment. People will need the real presence of a Christian community when a future difficulty arises or in celebration of life’s milestones. One way you might disciple people who have found your ministry online is by not discipling them at all, but by asking another pastor to do it.

Think long-term. While the initial shockwave of the global pandemic and subsequent shutdown is gone, the effects of the various aspects of the virus and its fallout are going to be felt for years. Many churches moved to online worship in a matter of days or weeks and the energy and efforts to do so are to be applauded. Now, however, it is time to give careful consideration to how churches can disciple their congregations and reach out to new people for years to come.

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Ministry in the Newly Distanced Church – Part 1

Ministry in the Newly Distanced Church – Part 1 of 2
By Rev. Dr. Rob Haynes

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:4-5

The profound effects of COVID-19 have forced thousands of churches into new forms of worship. The proliferation of online offerings including worship, Bible studies, devotional teaching times, prayer services, and the like has been staggering. Anecdotal evidence and objective research suggest that more people are engaging with churches in the new online environment than before the pandemic. This is cause for celebration! This also means that church leaders have an unprecedented challenge before them: how to effectively teach those they have reached how to stay connected to the true vine of which Jesus speaks. This presents exceptional challenges in a distanced church.

These challenges can present themselves in a variety of ways. While the advent of online worship may mean that more people can connect with a particular church, it might also mean that those who were regular attenders of that same church before the pandemic can now attend any number of other churches from the sofa. The strong influence of the “attractional church” model in recent decades has resulted in people moving to different churches whenever they feel they are not “being fed.” Ask people why they join a church community and they will frequently cite factors like the preaching style, the music in worship, the programming offered for their kids, or something similar. While all these can have merit, this also means that people are likely to move along to something else when a more attractive opportunity presents itself. In the newly distanced church environment, this can mean that church leaders might feel pressured into something of an “arms race” to provide the slickest online worship offering or a flashier digital resource than the church down the “virtual street.”

To use another image common in the scriptures, these digital resources have provided new ways to welcome lost sheep into the flock, but it has also provided easy ways for sheep to move from one pasture, and shepherd, to another. As these shepherds begin to see their flocks in person again, they are going to find new sheep that have found their way from a far-off place. They are also going to find that some of their sheep have left for what they considered a greener pasture. I have heard of churches who have welcomed new members who lived hundreds or thousands of miles from the physical location of the church. With the new opportunities presented by online offerings come new challenges of how to disciple new members of these congregations.

In the passage above, Jesus is reminding the disciples that being connected to one another means being connected to him and vice versa. There is a richness in the term “abide” that should not be overlooked. The Greek word is “meno” and is the same term used when:

  • Jesus tells the disciples to remain in a town sharing and showing the love of Jesus. Matthew 10:11
  • John the Baptist describes the dove descending and remaining on Jesus at his baptism. John 1:32
  • Jesus tells Zacchaeus that he is going to stay at his house that day. Luke 19:5
  • In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks the disciples to stay awake and pray with him while they remained with him as he was grieved, “even to death.” Matthew 26:38

This is not the first time we have seen an increase in participation in religious activities after a crisis. Churches frequently see an increase in attendance following a natural disaster or a tragedy. The key to ministry in these situations is providing biblical leadership on abiding after the shock of the tragedy fades. However, the COVID-19 crisis presents a unique situation in terms of the length of the impact and the precautions that must be taken to mitigate further harm as the initial impact passes. As churches begin reopening, church leaders and their congregations are finding new and challenging situations in terms of discipling newcomers to their congregation, caring for those who have remained, and reconnecting with those who have disconnected from the vine because the online environment meant they made their way to a new virtual, and distant, church.

Each of these situations will present opportunities and challenges which many leaders have not yet experienced. Fulfilling the mandate to teach people to “abide” will require new and innovative leadership. There is a particular power in being present with one another, in abiding. While physical distancing requires us to think about that in new ways, church leaders should remember the power of presence—real and virtual. In my next article, I will offer some practical ideas about ministering to the newly distanced church.

Read More: Part 2

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No Pointing

By Rev. Dr. Rob Haynes

I know a man who works at a large, warehouse style home-improvement store. He shared with me a story about how to help people find what they are looking for. It seems that there is a sign in the employee break room that says: “No Pointing.” The message to the store employees is that when customers ask the location of an item, one should not merely point and say, “Over there.” Nor is it sufficient to give an aisle number and description of the location on that aisle. Rather, the employee should walk with the customers and make sure that they are able, together, to locate what the customers are seeking. Along the way, the employee might learn more about just what they are looking for. In addition, even at some small level, relationship and goodwill is built. The customers realize that they are not alone and lost in their search, rather someone with expertise and experience is traveling with them. We are in a time when people need to know that the church is not merely pointing at some far-off place and that they must go alone on the journey to that place. Rather, we go together on the journey.

No matter how we are called to serve in ministry, as a lay person or pastor, it is important to remember that we do not go alone. We are to join with one another in our mutual work for the sake of the Gospel. Examples of this are frequently found in the Scriptures. In Genesis 12, when God calls Abram to the land he would see later, he did not go alone. In Luke 10, Jesus sent the witnesses out in pairs to proclaim that “the kingdom of God has come near.” After the Resurrection, Jesus walked along the road to Emmaus with Cleopas and his companion (Luke 24). Paul and Barnabas are sent together in Acts 13. If you are a leader in ministry, are you merely pointing or are you joining others on the journey?

The same holds true for those who are trying to find their way in the Christian faith. The last few months have turned many of us upside down. People are looking for someone to show them the way in a dark time. Many people are afraid of what the future will hold, as evidenced by panic buying and the hoarding of basic necessities. They want direction on how to navigate these uncertain times. Social distancing does not, necessarily, mean going it alone. Rather, at this important time, people around us need to be reminded that they need not go on this journey by themselves.

In times of difficulty, many people of faith have turned to Psalm 23 for comfort. Frequently, Bible study teachers and pastors point to the fact that the psalmist walks through the darkest valley rather than remain in that dark valley. That is an important point. However, notice that the comfort also comes from the fact that the Lord walks with us in those dark valleys. The Lord does not simply point but accompanies. We take solace because we are not alone.

Though the problems facing the world today are significant, perhaps even unprecedented, this is not the first time that the church has faced ministry to those impacted by a widespread illness. In the second, third, and sixteenth centuries, the church was able to minister to people in times of plague and disease. Without minimizing the human toll, it is important to remember that the church served as a faithful witness in those times. The church has the opportunity to be a faithful witness again in a difficult time for many around the world. That does not come from hoarding basic necessities or spreading panic and fear. Rather, it is demonstrated in showing the mercy given to us by Christ and coming alongside others as we walk through these dark times.

As a response to social distancing, many churches have generated a great deal of online content in the form of services, devotionals, and Bible studies. I am grateful that there has been a proliferation of these types of resources. The internet certainly needs it. All the while, church leaders should ensure that these are not just inwardly focused—merely aimed at the people who are already connected with a church. People are asking some really big and really important questions about life, death, the nature of the world in which we live. The gospel is the answer to these questions. This is a prime opportunity for us to share these answers to the world that is asking. We need to do this in a way that is not merely pointing and saying: “over there.” This is a prime opportunity to show the world the One who walks through our valleys with us.

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Talking about Jesus in A Complex World

World Methodist Evangelism (WME) is proud to work with partners around the world to train indigenous, front-line evangelism leaders to talk about Jesus in a complex world. Usually lasting one week, these evangelism seminars provide laity and clergy in the Wesleyan Methodist family the opportunity to explore the nature and practice of evangelism in a cross-cultural environment.

Pastors and laity from the United States are encouraged to join with international church leaders in learning, worship, and mutual growth. We have three seminars in 2020: Indonesia, Fiji, and Romania.

These unique learning opportunities address topics important to Christ followers in these respective locations. Some topics include:
–Ministry in migrant communities
–Faithful creation care
–Providing a faithful witness under the pressures of an increasingly secular society
–The role of healing in evangelism and discipleship
–Addressing local and global poverty from a biblical perspective
–Ministering in places where folk religion is being mixed with Christian teaching

These issues are of increasing importance and provide helpful insights for leaders around the world. In addition, these seminars provide an arena for the World Methodist family to meet together for sharing, learning, and preparing for evangelism. Teaching is led by local church leadership as well as pastors and scholars from the United States.

These experiences are perfect opportunities to grow as leaders and faithful followers of Jesus, and to encounter the wonderful things God is doing in the church around the world. Additionally, continuing education credit is available while experiencing evangelism and church leadership in these exceptional environments.

Upcoming Opportunities:
– Indonesia
– Fiji
– Romania
To learn more, click HERE.

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Here is the Church

By Rev. Dr. Robert Haynes

When I was a child, my grandmother taught me an old saying, a little rhyme that she would act out with her hands. It went something like this:

“Here is the Church”

(She interlaced her fingers, hiding them inside a two-handed fist)

“Here is the Steeple”

(She pointed her two index fingers upwards to make a steeple”

“Look inside, there’s all the people”

(She turned her palms upwards, revealing her wiggling, interlaced fingers)

With all due respect to my loving grandmother, is it fair to divide the church and the people that way? What does the Bible say about what, or who, the church is?

The New Testament gives no formal definition of the church. However, looking at contextual clues for the church’s own understanding of itself provides important insight. From its origins, the church understood itself as a gathered group in, and for the sake of, the world. The term used in Acts to describe the gathering of Christians, the church, is ekklesia. At the time of the writing of the New Testament, the term was already in common use to describe the gathering of the people of the city at the bidding of the municipal leaders. Ekklesia is a term that was used in Ancient Greek to describe the assembly called by the town clerk. It was the role of this clerk to call the people to assemble for his purposes: to make an announcement, dictate a policy change, or conduct some business. The gathering, the ekklesia, was called together by their leader for the purposes that leader wanted to fulfill.

However, the early church was not just a gathering of people to fulfill a political purpose. Rather, they were the gathering of the people at the request of the Highest Authority: a Christian community proclaiming that God was calling all believers for his purposes. Such a bold proclamation said that Jesus’ lordship is over all aspects of life. As such, they were publicly declaring all other religions and societal structures as inferior to God, Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son of God. Even the government and its leaders were to be molded and shaped by the teaching of Scriptures and lived out by the people gathered and scattered—the Christians, the church. What made the members of the early movements of Christianity distinct from the world was that they saw themselves as not just a gathering of people, rather as the gathering of the people of God.

By choosing to call themselves ekklesia, the New Testament church desired to be a group gathered among the whole city and desired that they could, one day, be a gathering of the whole city. Christians, from the very beginning, were a movement of people launched into the public life. They lived in such a manner that the social, political, and economic structures would reflect Christ’s teaching. They expected others to be transformed by Word: the teaching of Scripture, Deed: their acts of mercy and service, and Sign: the divine works of the Holy Spirit. They did not leave this work to a select few, what we today might call the “clergy.” Rather, they understood this to be the work of every Christian.

John Wesley understood this at many levels. For Wesley, the empowering of the laity in ministry was the way that God’s Kingdom is demonstrated through a community of believers demonstrating the love of God and neighbor, therefore fulfilling God’s commandments. Wesley sought to revitalize the church by re-energizing the laity in the Christian faith they seemed to profess, but failed to demonstrate. The early Methodists exemplified the lesson that the laity embodies the church, visible in the world. The Wesleyan Methodist movement continues to thrive where this is embodied today.

It is important to remember, that from the earliest foundations of the Christian movement, the church is not first a building or the clergy leadership. Rather, the church is just that, a movement of people who have been transformed by Christ and are inviting others to experience that transformation as well. The church is not merely the building, nor is the church merely the clergy. Rather, as another old saying goes, “If the building burned down and the preacher left town, what you would have left is the church.”

Dr. Haynes is the Director of Education and Leadership for World Methodist Evangelism and the author of Consuming Mission: Towards a Theology of Short-Term Mission and Pilgrimage. He is an ordained member of The United Methodist Church. He can be reached at[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_facebook][vc_tweetmeme][/vc_column][/vc_row] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Residency In Mission Update

Annie Kate Leinius, Scott Layer and Rob Haynes at Central United Methodist Church (Lenoir City, TN)
Commissioning Service for Annie Kate Leinius (Center), Scott Layer (R) and Rob Haynes (L) at Central United Methodist Church (Lenoir City, TN)

WME’s launch of the Residency In Mission (RIM) has been a great success. Our first Resident, Eliza Edge, in now in her sixth month of service. Our second Resident, Annie Kate Leinius, arrived in New Zealand just in time for the New Year. Both Eliza and Annie Kate are serving in multi-ethnic congregations in the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand in and around Auckland.

In November, WME staff members Rob Haynes and Bonnie Hollabaugh met with our Regional Secretary in the Pacific, Rev. Dr. Richard Waugh and RIM Pacific Regional Coordinator, Rev. Josh Bowlin in New Zealand to visit ministry placements as well as partnering pastors and congregations. The ministry of the Residents is already making an impact and together we gave thanks to the way God is using them. In addition to meeting with current pastors working with RIM, we had the opportunity to explore placements in other locations in and around New Zealand and in other Churches in the Wesleyan Methodist family.

The vision for RIM is to foster evangelistic and missional engagement and learning among young adults in the Wesleyan Family through intentional service, guided mentorship, and robust theological reflection. The response from potential host churches has been strong and we are excited to see how the Lord grows it to include even more church and nations.

There are several ways you can be involved in the Residency In Mission:

  1. Pray for this ministry. RIM provides a remarkable opportunity to grow the work of the church while helping prepare the next generation of leadership. Will you pray for then in their service?
  2. Recommend An Applicant. If you know someone who is 21 year or older and resides in Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, or the United States and is looking to discern a call to missional service, let us know! (see below for contact info)
  3. Sponsor a Resident. The Residency is a self-funded service opportunity. Host churches contribute to the living costs of the Resident, but there are other expenses.

Applications are accepted on a rolling deadline. The next round of applications will close on 15 March. To apply or to learn more visit

Eliza and Annie Kate will finish their Residency in August, before returning to the United States for graduate studies. Follow them on this journey by visiting our RIM resident page.

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The Work and the Rest that is Worship

By Rev. Dr. Robert Haynes

In the midst of the Advent season, many church leaders are busy preparing for some extra special: Extra and Special worship services. These services generally draw people to church who have not been before or who have not been in a long time. These can be wonderful times of evangelistic energy. Newcomers to the church can be invited into the Christian community when church leaders work to prepare themselves and their congregations for authentic worship.

Though it may seem paradoxical, Christmas services maybe a time to demonstrate that the work of worship can lead to a divine rest. It is work that does not exhaust, but refreshes.

Church leaders will spend a great deal of time preparing for worship services. Every word to be spoken has been carefully prayed over. Music has been rehearsed. The worship space has been prepared. Leaders should also teach the congregation that worship takes some work on their part. It takes a holy work, and therefore, it is work worth doing. Whether we participate in a uniform, regular order of worship or not, we all participate in a “liturgy.” Liturgy literally means “the work of the people.” Liturgy does not have to be confined to something we read through in traditional worship.

It is indeed powerful to remember, participate, and celebrate the traditions of the centuries of worship that came before us. But all worship: traditional, contemporary, emerging, etc. can be a “liturgy” or a work of the people. Worship is not a spectator’s sport. True worship occurs when we bring ourselves to the worship of God. This requires more than our mere physical presence. This requires our entire being, our time, and our full attention. This can be real work sometimes, but it is always worth it.

Because the Holy Spirit is working in authentic, work-filled worship it is powerful! The power is already there in the Person and Presence of the Holy Spirit. We do not have to force it or make it happen. The Spirit is already there. When we open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit by reverent and careful preparation for worship God is glorified, and we transformed in the process.

Worship is also about rest. Let’s face it, many of us have trouble resting. Sometimes we even look down upon those who rest as lazy or unproductive. To be the child of God that we are called to be, we need to rest. We must take a deep breath: spiritually, emotionally, physically.

True worship is a time of rest. We rest in the arms of the God who loves us and desires that we too love Him. He wants us to cast our cares upon Him and take rest from the burdens that the world, others, or even ourselves have placed upon us.

In our worship we can sometimes get so caught up in singing about God or reading about God or hearing about God that we forget that worship is an experience of God. We experience God’s love so that we too might be changed more into the likeness of Him. Have you ever considered how you might move from all those things about God and move into a restful experience of God?

Our worship truly takes on a whole new meaning when we live out that which we say and do in worship. We affirm that God is all powerful, that He forgives sins, that the saints are to commune together, and that there is more to our being than just this earthly life.

If done carefully, prayerfully, and intentionally every worship service can be filled with holy work and holy rest. As new people come to our churches, may Christian leaders model this work and this rest some that others would come to know God’s work and rest for themselves as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Haynes is the Director of Education and Leadership for World Methodist Evangelism and the author of Consuming Mission: Towards a Theology of Short-Term Mission and Pilgrimage. He is an ordained member of The United Methodist Church. He can be reached at To learn more about, or to order, Consuming Mission, visit[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_facebook][vc_tweetmeme][/vc_column][/vc_row] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Residency In Mission Accepting Applications

Residency In Mission accepting applications for placement
in New Zealand 2020-2021

In recent months, WME celebrated the successful launch of a new initiative aimed at developing evangelistic and missional engagement and learning among young adults in the Wesleyan Methodist Family. The Residency in Mission (RIM) is an immersive mission and evangelism experience designed for young adults who are called to serve beyond their home country in partnership with ministries in the Wesleyan Methodist family. RIM is a 9-12 month commitment that includes guided mentorship from mission and evangelism leadership experts. RIM also provides opportunities for host ministries to strengthen the work in their local contexts, while offering Residents an environment in which to grow in their ministry service.

RIM grew out of WME’s commitment to cultivating dynamic, young leaders who are committed to the wholeness of the Christian message, integrity in evangelistic practices, and reconciliation in relationships. The next deadline for RIM applications is 31 December. Residents in Mission must be 21 years of age at time of placement. Current or future university and/or seminary students are welcome to apply. The Resident in Mission should be a citizen or resident of Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, or the United States.

We installed our first Resident In Mission, Eliza Edge, at the Millwater Wesleyan Methodist Church in Auckland, New Zealand. Our second Resident, Annie Kate Leinius, will begin her service in New Zealand at the first of the calendar year. You can learn more about them here.

To apply or to find out more about RIM visit or contact Rev. Dr. Rob Haynes, Director of Education and Leadership:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]