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Words from the Bishop: Blessed are the Followers
So, what does it mean to follow Jesus? I hope you saw an image of what following Jesus can look like in last week’s Spotlight on Project Hope in Columbus, MT. And I encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open for other glimpses of what it means to follow Jesus in this world.
Often, when we’re asked the question “What does it mean to follow Jesus?” we think first about what we do? After all, we’re the ones who are called to follow; therefore, we should be doing the work of following, right?
But actually following Jesus is first and foremost something God does, not us. Following Jesus starts with Jesus himself – his invitation, his call, his promise, his gift. Only in the receiving of God’s gift in Christ do we begin to participate in the following.
This comes clearer to us in the first verses of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are you,” Jesus says to various groups of people. Think again about what it means to be blessed: to be filled with the life and love of God into the depths of our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits. To be blessed is to receive the vitality of God’s wholeness, abundance, and unconditional love into our being. To be blessed is to be given pure grace.
Montana Synod Strategic Benchmarks
Our Mission: "Marked by the cross of Christ forever, abundantly blessed, we faithfully serve God and neighbor."
Our Vision: "Every person a witness, Every minister equipping witness, Every congregation and ministry, empowered for witness, serving faithfully."
The Montana Synod will measure its own faithfulness to our mission and vision and to the task of providing leadership to the Montana Synod by the following benchmarks:
1. Meet the future boldly.
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart. (Jer 29:11-13)
We will take risks for the sake of the Gospel, remembering that Jesus said that whoever wants to save your life will lose it, and the only way to be a disciple is to pick up a cross and follow. We will learn from our conversations with congregations and we will model faithful, visionary ministry that is more prophetic than safe.