By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”—Matthew 6:30-34 (The Message)
It has been a few days since the 2018 session of the South Carolina Annual Conference came to an end and a new conference year took flight.
For those who gathered in Greenville, followed along on the livestream or read updates available through social media and other communication channels, you are familiar with the vast depth and breadth of ministry opportunities in which your church can participate in mission from anywhere to everywhere. You have been inspired, motivated and called into action. It is evidence that our time spent in Greenville was a glorious expression of Christian conferencing and celebration. The graciousness of God and the generosity of God's people were experienced in excellent ways.
We also know that the moment you arrived back home, you had days of emails to catch up, family that had not seen you and day-to-day work that needed to be attended to. Because of the busyness of everyday life, the details about the many resources available to your local church jotted down in the margins of your registration packet now sits in the corner of your office or maybe still in the trunk of your car.
While the Annual Conference has concluded, the real work begins.
To that end, there is an age-old question that has elicited a myriad of responses over the years; namely, "How do you eat an elephant?" Some may focus on which method to employ or the tools needed to accomplish the task. Others may wonder why that particular question is even being considered.
There is a key leader among us, however, whose daily life includes consideration of such details. The Rev. Kenneth L. Nelson ably serves as the South Carolina Annual Conference Secretary. Nelson’s humble spirit and calm demeanor permeate the entire process of planning, execution and follow up related to our annual gathering.
Nelson leads with the knowledge that God has already gone before us all and that, when we keep the faith and do our work, all will be well. The fruits of this labor are reaped when we gather together each June.
I want to extend deep appreciation to Nelson and the entire team of committed volunteers who give of their time, talents, gifts and service in such a significant way. This monumental task can seem overwhelming from a distance, but Nelson and his team approach the work one step at a time, seeking a more excellent way and always giving credit to God almighty.
As we lean into God's preferred future, we recognize that the church is more than brick and mortar. The church is defined by people who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ, people who are dedicated to service in their community and witness wherever God leads them.
So, how do you eat an elephant? The answer is simpler than it seems. You do it one bite at a time. In walking by faith in a more excellent way of being in mission from anywhere to everywhere, we learn how to trust God, do our work and know all will be well one day at a time.
By Bishop L. Jonathan Holston