The following words were spoken at the closing session of the 2014 Ministry Conference of the Evangelical Friends Church Mid America Yearly Meeting. They were presented by the Yearly Meeting Superintendent, Dr. David Williams, on July 27, 2014. A very special thank you to David, Matt Macy (Associate Director of Evangelical Friends Missions), and all those Friends whom participated in the formation of the document at the Ministry conference.
‘In the last days,’ God says,
‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
We have a dream…
We have a dream of the gospel lived out…and that God would use us to do it.
We dream that whatever is true in Heaven be true on earth…in our local churches, in the communities where our churches serve, and in the family of churches called Evangelical Friends Church- Mid America Yearly Meeting.
We dream of the ethnic participation of our churches and larger gatherings reflecting the ethnic makeup of our communities. What if when we gathered as a church, we saw a vast crowd from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in worship together before the Lamb? What if they held palm branches in their hands, and in unity were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God on the throne and from the Lamb!”
We have a dream of Jesus-followers being known as the most generous and live-giving people in the whole world. A church that is unstoppable, built by Christ, fueled by the Holy Spirit. Believing that what’s impossible to men is possible with God.
We have a dream that we as a family of churches would become known as Friends of sinners, where our churches would become places of forgiveness rather than judgment. What if we shared openly of our own weaknesses and stories of brokenness, and how God’s love and grace is so much greater! What if our neighbors were our friends and not our projects? What if the Word became flesh where we live, and also in the places where our unbelieving neighbors hang out? What if our co-workers and class-mates knew that we loved them as they are rather than as they ‘should be,’ but what if they also joined us side by side in this dream and pursuit of Heaven?
We have a dream of God’s Kingdom coming to heal the sick and the broken. Forgiveness of sins. Redemption. The homeless and hungry knowing that God cares, and has sent friends to help them. Prisoners and orphans and widows and the sick believing that their creator knows their name. Addictions falling away in the power of Jesus’ forgiveness. What if our churches were constantly celebrating recovery? Marriages and families growing stronger. Broken relationships being healed. What if one of God’s children was running the race, and fell, and couldn’t go on without help…and what if we stopped everything else for the sole focus of helping them continue across the finish line? What if we would lay our lives down for our friends?
We have a dream that every local church was actively participating with God in the process of making disciples. What if church culture changed from maintenance or preservation to multiplication? What if we knew exactly who God was sending us to, and we knew them by name? What if every church made at least one disciple in the next year, starting with non-disciples?
We have a dream that the youth in the church be equipped as disciple-makers. What if every day was like a mission trip? What if adults saw the children and youth of our churches as warriors in the Kingdom, and we walked with them and also sent them out? What if we gave more space for new expressions of the church lived out?
We have a dream that all of the small churches in EFC-MAYM felt truly loved. That big churches felt loved. That medium churches felt loved. What if each and every one of our churches understood clearly how to use the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven? What if every church knew their significance in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth? What if believers and churches worked side by side to accomplish common dreams? What if we served the world around us with no concern about our growth, our reputation, or our benefit, accepting whatever fruit God gives us?
We have a dream, that our properties, personal and corporate, be used 24/7 to bless the community around us, and even be used for community objectives. What if we had no spare rooms in our homes or church buildings? What if we all knew our neighbors across the street, and down the road, and across the tracks and helped them with their needs? What if our churches were like store-houses for ministry? What if God restored the broken and we could hand them the keys to our church vans and even our church buildings?
We have a dream that our church would emerge in the neighborhoods where we live. And a deep sense of awe came over them all. What if all the believers lived in wonderful harmony, holding everything in common? And they sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met? What if they followed a daily discipline of worship in the temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God? And people in general liked what they saw! What if every day their number grew as God added those who were being saved?
Turn from your brokenness and turn to God, because we have really Good News that the Kingdom of Heaven is near!
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,[a]
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,[b]
but rescue us from the evil one.[c
Let us all join together to make this dream a reality.
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