The 2020 Missional Report of the Dakotas Conference was one of the highlights of the Virtual Annual Conference held October 10, 2020.
Rev. Bob Ruedebusch, Dean of the Dakotas Cabinet and Southwest District Superintendent, summarized the 2020 Annual Conference and the missional report.
“The slogan we heard many times was, ‘We are better together!’ My friends, our connectional mission and ministry, even though we are going through a rough patch, is still strong and vital. The conference theme, “Be the Light - Live Hope!” continues to guide our work together. I was reminded that our values of Jesus, Mission and Connection are what holds us together as the people called United Methodist Christians in the Dakotas. Even in the face of many challenges, I continually seek the guidance of Peter who reminds us that our God is a God of mighty acts that we are to proclaim to the world. That we are being called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. I encourage all of us to seek the light of Jesus as we move into the Advent season. May the light of God light our path and guide our work together.”
The entire 2020 Missional Report can be viewed here.
The report has also been divided into four parts for your use: 1) Introduction, what do we value? 2) Jesus, the core of our being, 3) Mission, living out our life with Jesus, 4) Connection, sharing and growing in our love for God and each other.
Each part of the report is available for use as a stand-alone video and content for small groups and sermons. The parts could also be combined for a sermon series or small group study as follows:
Week one: Introduction—Where are we going and what do we value?
If everything were stripped away, tossed up in the air, what would be the core things, the core value, that you would want to remain steady?
Why do you hold onto your belief in God?
Why should others hold on with you?
Week two: Jesus—
Main idea: Because we believe that Jesus does more than we could ask or imagine by the power of his Spirit at work within us, we invite people into a relationship with Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord of their lives– lived out in some impactful ways.
Scripture references: John 8:12 (NRSV), “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” And Matthew 5:13-16 (CEB), “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
How does Jesus show up in your life?
What ways do following Jesus impact your life?
How do you share the light of Jesus with others?
Week three: Mission—Living out the mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world
Main idea: Even as we value the foundation of Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, we also value the sense of missional urgency—that desire to shine this light to others.
Scripture reference: 1 Peter 3:15 “always be prepared to give and answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope that we have and to do so with gentleness and respect.”
How do you live out the mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?
What roadblocks do you face to live out the mission of making disciples?
How can we get others involved and passionate about the mission of making disciples?
Week four: Connection—The value of connection
Main idea: Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
What are the opportunities and challenges that come with connecting and being in ministry with other churches in your community?
What are the opportunities and challenges that come with connecting and being in ministry with other UM churches in our Conference?
How can we connect, learn, and grow from those who are different from us?
Start or end each sermon or small group session with Bishop Ough’s Breakthrough Prayer:
O God, our God, you have reconciled the world through your Son, and you have filled me with your Holy Spirit so that I might be equipped and empowered to bear witness to your love and light.
As Jesus identified his vocation to heal a broken world, so also may I identify and embrace my vocation:
“To preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).
I lift into your loving presence, Gracious God, those known and unknown to me who live on the margins and in the shadows of society – the poor, the orphan, the immigrant, the widow, the beaten down, the addict, the forgotten and lonely.
Give me, O Giver of Life and Hope, a heart that longs not for wealth or fame, but only for You and your upside-down Kingdom.
Grant me strength and courage to bring those who alienate into right relationship with those who are alienated, so that all may know your reconciling love.
Guide my every action to be in accord with your continuous and costly commitment to justice, peace and health in the world you love so much.
By the in-breaking and in-dwelling power of your Holy Spirit, I go forth today and every day to Be the Light and Live Hope!