Greetings friends and co-laborers in Christ,
Like you, the beginning of the year can be a time to cast a new vision or refresh the memory of our churches of the vision and mission the church to start fresh or renew our commitments, open our eyes to see what God has in store for us ahead. This is especially true for me right now, as I made an unexpected mid-year move to two small congregations in the small town where I work in my bivocational life. I moved to these churches at the end of October. Due to unexpected circumstances, these churches had no pastor for about three months. I arrived and had to hop into church conference preparations, preparations for Advent and then Christmas. Now it is the New Year and we are beginning to vision where God is leading us in these challenging times to be a United Methodist. It is all good but it can be exhausting.
It is so easy to get in a mindset, I just need to get through this and things will get easier or slow down. I just need to get through this week, or this month. Too often, it is the coping mechanism we use to get through the day instead of leaning into the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish our work in the Church. We are so busy focus on getting through and not enjoying the journey with Jesus. Ephesians 3:16-20 is a prayer from the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians, but I pray it as a prayer for us in this challenging, confusing, busy, and fulfilling calling to pastor and lead in this time. I hope you will join me in praying this prayer for each of us and the congregations we serve.
As the membership secretary for the National Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors (NFAMLP), I am writing to remind you it is time to renew your annual membership to NFAMLP. Our membership changed from birthday to birthday to a calendar year- January to January several years ago when we changed our by-laws. Membership can be renewed electronically via our website: www.nfamlp.org or you may print out a membership form from the website and submit a check to me via the mail.
You may be wondering why in this tumultuous time of being in the United Methodist Church you should bother. I cannot answer that question for you. However, I can tell you why I am renewing my membership in the NFAMLP this year. I want the Church to see that associate members and local pastors have a vital role in our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I still need a place to receive mutual support and encouragement to do this in my calling as a local pastor. I still need people to turn to answer questions, find support, and receive encouragement in the struggles only we understand as Associate Members or Local Pastors. It is through the NFAMLP, I came to see and fully understand there is “Nothing Wrong” with being a local pastor and realize it is my calling. An elder isn’t a better position; it is a different calling. I am called to be a bivocational pastor serving as a local pastor. .
If you didn’t already know, the NFAMLP leadership worked and submitted legislation to General Conference to strength the role of Associate Members and Local Pastors in the UMC. We submitted four pieces of legislation. If you have not already seen the legislation, you can read it for yourself via our website: www.nfamlp.org. We encourage you to share it with your delegates and ask for their support.
Currently, the NFAMLP is planning our annual meeting and training. The dates are September 15-17, 2020. We will be in Branson, Missouri. Put this on your calendar now and plan to attend. We plan to be there no matter what occurs at General Conference and hope you will you too. As soon as details are finalized we share them with you.
As always, if you have any questions for any of the leadership, please reach out to us. We cannot know what is on your mind or what you have questions if you don’t let us know. Our contact information is found on the website: www.nfamlp.org or you can ask questions on our Facebook page: UMC National Fellowship of AMs and LPs.
May you never feel you have to plod along and just get through. May you find your strength and joy in the Holy Spirit in all your endeavors on this blessed journey of being associate members and local pastors in the United Methodist Church.
Your sister and co-laborer in Christ,
Marikay J. Green
Membership Secretary, NFAMLP