Ezekiel 37:1-6 (NRSV)
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
After 3 years of a global pandemic, ongoing political strife, racial unrest, and unprecedented mass violence, even the most passionate leaders are tired. No just physically fatigued, but emotionally spent, and spiritually dry. We, like Free Methodists all over the country, are sensing a deep summons to revival and renewal that only comes with a movement of God’s spirit at God’s initiative.
Are you like Ezekiel and are so tired that you begin to doubt the desire of God to bring renewal? God is asking you to look upon the dryness in our own lives and the lives of our members, and to answer the question “Can these souls live?”. The answer of course is yes. We serve a loving God who desires to place breath (same word in the Hebrew as “Spirit”) into so that we will have life, and true vitality.
Fueling the Fire is all about experiencing the movement of the Spirit to restore and rejuvenate. The leadership summit will be headlined by Dr. Anthony Headley, former chair of the department of Pastoral Counseling at Asbury Seminary. He will teach us about “protecting the fire” or how to keep spiritual vitality in anxious times. We will continue with teaching on ‘perceiving the fire” or recognizing movements of the Holy Spirit and see how that looks in different parts of the conference. Prayer is vital to spiritual vitality, so Pastor Jose Garcia (Laredo Tx, Vientos De Dios) will teach us how to “pray for fire”.
Following Jesus is not merely a mystical journey where we encounter Jesus and are transformed for the sake of being transformed. No, we are a prophetic faith where we encounter Jesus, are transformed to participate in the mission of Jesus. Therefore, we will learn “propagating the fire” as the goal is spirit fueled churches, not just spirit fueled leaders
We will have preconference workshop on Worship, as well as a regional gathering of La Conexion (Latino and Hispanic leaders) and Umoja (African and Swahili speaking leaders). We will celebrate ordinations and make time for informal time to connect with leaders you have not seen for a while.
By the end, we have a firm and holy expectation, that those in attendance will be fueled with their flames fanned high, equipped to catalyze movements in their churches, neighborhoods, and cities!