My steady deep conviction over my almost 4 years as bishop of the Central Texas Conference has been that the Conference exists to “energize and equip local churches to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” This Sunday I had the great joy of sharing with a church vibrantly alive as it engages in this great mission.
I preached three times at First United Methodist Church in Killeen and shared with pastors Jeff Miller and David McMinn in confirmation. The 9:30 a.m. service in particular was electric with the Spirit’s presence! A packed sanctuary rejoiced with inspiring music as 14 youth were confirmed (the total for the day was 20 confirmations). But perhaps the highlight came after confirmation at the close of the worship service. Four young adults (mid to late 20s) responded to the call to discipleship and came forward to commit (or recommit) themselves to Christ as Lord and Savior. Two were on profession of faith and one was baptized. The Spirit was moving!
In looking over the confirmation class (as well as the congregation), I couldn’t help but notice that it was multi-ethnic. There were three distinct ethnic groups (possibly a fourth) in the confirmation class and, while predominantly Anglo, the ethnic diversity was not simply a scattered individual or two but a clear and welcomed aspect of that community of faith.
This congregation is not perfect. None are. The old RSV translation of II Corinthians 4:7 comes to mind: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.” It was great Sunday, and I was blessed to share with the good folks of First UMC, Killeen in watching God in action through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.