“The Church isn’t going anywhere if the pastor is not willing to lead. We, as pastors, were not ordained to follow but rather to lead a congregation. We were not ordained and sent so that we could follow that congregation wherever it wants to go”. Leaders, lead. It is important to note that education and training are critical to the growth of the CME church. Therefore, the pastor must hear from the Lord in prayer and respond accordingly to lead God’s people.
The larger community must be in partnership with the church and vice versa. The church can no longer work as a connectional church from an autonomist mindset. The pastor must create a space for authentic conservation to take place. Many times, those who are not a part of a congregation but live in the community might see those who drive into their neighborhood as visitors who do not invest in the neighborhood. The community wants to see those who worship in the church live, shop, and become a part of the community, not drive-by visitors. However, those in the congregation may not be aware of those in the community and become locked within the walls of their own churches and attract no one. The non-churched see who we are, and the non-churched hear what we say. If the Church is to grow, the Church must not focus on the days of nostalgia but be about introducing and reintroducing Christ. This must be the goal of every believer to reach non-believers who live and work in the community. The congregation must see the need for holistic stewardship in the area where our churches are present.
It must become a team effort as the strategic plan gives us direction. We can truly become the example of effective evangelism in the Christian Methodist Episcopal. Bishop Othal Hawthorne Lakey, the forty-fourth Bishop, reminds us of what leaders can do when he says, “The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church has not seen significant church growth since its inception. In spite of the difficulties, in the first twenty years as a separate and independent church, the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church tripled its membership, selected three additional bishops, who proved to be men of outstanding competence and commitment, expanding the scope of the annual conference operations, establishing two viable educational enterprises, and became a predominately Black church in the South.” God has given us as leaders more than enough to do the work rather than sit comfortably and represent the status quo.
By following the vision of God, the CME Church has expanded its ministries with domestic and international work. Nevertheless, we are not through. The God of 1870 is the same in 2022 and beyond. Leaders must meet today’s times with renewed, innovative, and relevant ministry. Leaders must be prepared for 21st-century leadership in an ever-changing world.
We are The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church recognizing the importance of Christ in our daily lives.
Rev. Dr. Leon C. Moore, Jr.
General Secretary of Evangelism and Missions
Anderson Chapel CME, Holly Springs, MS
Bob Farr, Renovate or Die: Ten Ways to Focus Your Church on Mission (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2011), 17.
Othal Hawthorne Lakey, The History of the CME Church (Memphis, TN: The CME Publishing House, 1996), 196.