Monday, February 22, 2016

Remove the sting – help them sing!


By Dr. Dilip Abayasekara

How can your congregation live out the mission of the church that impacts your community, country, and the world? There is no escaping the fact that we are called to a holy calling, to be transformative agents in the world in the name of Jesus Christ. Whether your church is small, medium, or large, whether it’s urban or rural, whether it’s members are old, young, or in-between, there is something that your church can do that can be hugely significant: become a Bishop’s Partner in Mission (BPIM).

When you become a partner in mission, you automatically help drive two huge endeavors to success: Mission Central, where “God’s Resources Meet Human Need” and Imagine No Malaria, where you join the fight to reduce and ultimately eliminate the needless deaths of thousands of people from malaria, a disease that is preventable, treatable, and beatable. Although an individual church might feel that it’s contributions are too small to make an impact, the truth is that when the Susquehanna Conference’s 900-plus churches all work together and pull together, we can make our ripples combine to create a huge wave of blessing to others.

Our conference has made a commitment to wipe out the $1 million mortgage of Mission Central and to raise $1 million for the global fight against malaria. Reaching those goals mean that once released from the burden of a huge mortgage, we can free up dollars for Mission Central’s amazing missions locally, nationally, and globally. It also means the difference between life and death for tens of thousands of people annually afflicted by malaria, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008 when Imagine No Malaria was launched, a child died every 30 seconds due to complications from the disease. Now, a child dies every two minutes. That’s a significant drop in rates of death but still unacceptable, especially when the disease is preventable and treatable.

We are grateful for the generous contributions of quite a few churches already. BPIM brochures and pledge cards have been distributed to most of the churches. Consider inviting your congregations to roll up their sleeves, tap their creativity, and get involved in BPIM that will lead to healing the sick, reaching out in missions, and giving hope to those in need. We are happy to receive donations from churches as well as individual donors. However, never underestimate the impact that small but consistent efforts can create: Oak Hill UMC (in another Conference) raised over $100,000 in small active community engagements, beginning with lemonade stands.

I am looking for fellow believers in churches in each of our seven districts to become points of light for this effort. For more information or to join me in this exciting endeavor, please contact me at dabaysekara@susumc.org. Please watch for announcements about regional or district training events. Let’s remove the sting of the mosquito and the sting of a mortgage over Mission Central as we Imagine No Mortgage and Imagine No Malaria!

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