The Future Leadership of the Church
by Rev. Alexandra Robinson on January 31, 2024
This past Saturday, the leadership of Flower Mound UMC gathered for our annual leadership retreat. These 98 amazing individuals are ones that have said “yes” to a call asking them to serve the church in a variety of leadership capacities, ranging from finances to children’s ministries to hospitality. Each has a unique skill set, spiritual gifts and experiences that lend themselves to these areas. We are so thankful for their willingness to share of their time, talent and treasure in this way.
On Sunday, we celebrated our Sonshine Kids preschool ministry in our 11:00 worship service. We listened to our preschoolers sing, offer Scripture through signing, and some of our preschool graduates helped lead worship. The pews were full of preschool families eager to witness their children sharing the joy of the Lord.
Today, I went to a conference on church leadership, explaining the future of ministry utilizing Artificial Augmentation. It was somewhat unsettling to imagine my sermon preparation “enhanced” by Chat GPT, or how church functioning might become more automated rather than dependent upon human fallibility. And then I realized, the preschoolers today will only know a world augmented by artificial intelligence, in a reality none of us in current leadership can imagine.
In moments like these, I am not sure what the future holds, but I am grateful for a group of current leaders now, who have the creativity and ingenuity to prepare the way. I am grateful for these preschoolers who are being raised with the Christian values and understanding of their belonging at church as our future leaders. And I believe with all my heart, that as long as we focus on the “yes” to the call of following Jesus in the many ways the future leads us – today, and 40 years from now, we will be led in the path God needs us to go. We just must be careful that our “yes” is not only agreeing with what is comfortable or current. Our “yes” must not be affirming what is available or affable. That “yes” can keep us stuck in the status quo. But if our “yes” follows Jesus now, AND with trust for the future, then we may remain relevant for the next generation.
As our current leadership determined that one of our 3 goals is to “Champion Children and Youth,” we are focusing on how we can walk alongside our children and youth in ministry together. No longer are ministry areas silos that keep generations separated, but we must serve alongside each other in missions, worship leadership and learning. So I pray this year, you will get to know a child or youth in our congregation in a way that helps you to witness their joy for the Lord, and how they are developing as leaders for the future, as we are all following Jesus together. Listen to their dreams, share your own, and together, we will embrace the Spirit’s presence, guiding our future as Flower Mound UMC.