Lessons in Leadership: The Power of Through

Susan Moudry



Connectionalism, a hallmark of The United Methodist Church, is a concept that unites our leaders and congregations locally, regionally and globally. In many ways this connectionalism is our theological declaration that we need one another. That we are better and stronger together.
One of the ways connectionalism can help us as leaders in our current climate is through the resourcing and support of the General Church agencies. This week, the General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) with the help of Discipleship Ministries, began publishing resources for this year’s Heritage Sunday. If you don’t know, Heritage Sunday is an annual celebration that asks us to remember the past while looking for “the continuing call of God.” (BOD 264.1) It’s celebrated on May 24, Aldersgate Day.
The theme this year is “The Power of Through” and it provides an awesome opportunity for the local church not only to remember the many things God has brought us through as a denomination, but also the things God has brought your specific congregation, community and people through.
The resources include recorded sermons you can use or preaching notes if you want to do your own message, orders of worship, small group conversation pieces and even a virtual choir performance that is yet to be posted.  Of course, if you already have a plan for May 24, consider this for another day.
Why push these resources, you ask? Sure, I am a big proponent of history and love the work GCAH is doing. But it’s more than that. So many of you have said you are tired and looking for a break. So many of you are trying to figure out all that will be involved in reopening and the staged processes for that to occur. Why not take advantage of these offerings from our Church? What’s more, I think the theme, “The Power of Through,” provides a great opportunity to engage congregations in seeing hope. By remembering where we have been and how God has brought us through, we will begin to hope and dream again. We will tell our stories and proclaim the Gospel anew. This is a message that needs to be heard in this time.
If you’re looking for ways to involve your local congregation, consider these:

  • Invite people to share their stories of “through.” You could record them and show them in worship, or talk about them in a small group.
  • Design a celebration, by asking people to submit photos and written messages, about what things God has brought the church and community through. Include these things in your newsletter, or other venues.
  • Host a Bible Study on the idea of “through.”
  • Share what you are doing with the Conference. Email us at communications@wpaumc.org so we can share your stories. 
God has and God will bring us through. Even if you’ve never celebrated Heritage Sunday before, this year is the perfect time. Just imagine, United Methodists across our country and across the world remembering our past and listening for the call of God as we move into the future. There is no reason not to be hopeful about that.


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