Reclaim! Conference Inspires Kingdom Focus with Wesleyan Spirit

By Cheryl George

By Cheryl George, Communications Team Chair
and Pat Mick, Board of Global Ministries Chair

The West Virginia Conference Board of Global ministries invited each of us to Reclaim! Embracing Wesley’s Radical Missional Spirit, on July 9 and 10, at Bridgeport Conference Center. Dr. Reggie McNeal, author, church leader, and kingdom builder, brought us messages of kingdom-oriented living.

He reminded us that it is important to get our role right. Church is not the destination, the Kingdom is! Mission is being played out in the world and the church is a subset of the kingdom. We embraced John Wesley’s radical missional spirit using his well-known statement:

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.

There are three things that have to change to shift our culture: How we tell the story, our scorecard (or what we measure), and our stewardship of the kingdom message. Leading church as an institution is different than leading church as a movement.

He reminded us that we have opportunities to bring the Kingdom into everything we do by reflecting on people who are affected, telling the stories of the impact, and recognizing that volunteers need to know that it is more than the process—it is about the kingdom. We must use our opportunities, assuming that God is at work in everyone that we meet. We must listen for discussion starters in order to join in their story and share our story. In doing this, we can create safe community and build relationships, building the kingdom of God.

There were five different kingdom building workshops to help us understand how to focus on our community instead of just the church, led by Katy Wrona, Barry Steiner Ball, Shara Perry, Michelle Lucarelli and Lisa Werner. Rev. Dr. Michael Linger led worship with the Followers of Faith Band providing music. In a few short hours, we were refreshed and ready to walk out into the world and Reclaim it for the Kingdom!

We had an average attendance of 58 each day.

The Board of Global Ministries recommends the following books by Dr. McNeal for further study, both for those who attended the conference as well as those who were not present but are interested in learning more about the topic:

  • Kingdom Come
  • Present Future
  • Kingdom Collaborators
  • Missional Renaissance
  • Missional Communities

Some of the thoughts/plans participants shared in the closing worship that might spark ideas for others in various contexts include:

  • Partner with a drug-risk child/their school
  • Be intentional and persistent
  • Share strategies on how to change the cycle of poverty with co-workers and families
  • Pray for the kingdom-centric vision to be realized in my church
  • Have a Kingdom conversation with leaders in the church
  • Use Pathways of Success segments with my youth
  • Be a high school student mentor
  • Move the small group outside the church

The Global Ministries Leadership Team is in the process of sending out a survey in the next few days to see what the people have been able to implement and what assistance they still need. A one-day follow-up workshop for the folks who attended is being planned for the fall or early winter.