"Focus" Reminds Us of Our Legacy

quotes taken from p.90

I finally finished the last part of Lovett Weems’ book Focus after being side track for a good long while.  I really like the small paragraph he had about legacy.  We have this great idea when it comes to legacy.  It seems like something we all strive for, even secretly.  We want, on some level, to be different and to remember us after we have died.  We want the work we do today to mean something tomorrow.

This can get lost though when we place our own legacy over the purpose we are working towards, meaning the transformation of the world.  Not only that but sometimes we forget the work others have done in the past.  Weems gives us five reminders of that and I thought they were important enough to share.  Enjoy our rich Methodist legacy that props us up currently.  Maybe we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  Instead maybe we should remember what wheels got us to this point.

  • We see other churches growing without remembering that Methodism achieved the greatest example of church growth in American history.
  • We see new churches springing up in our communities while forgetting that from 1870 to the end of WWI, the churches that make up The United Methodist Church today averaged a net gain of one new church a day for fifty years.  (OMG!)
  • We watch younger people drawn to churches featuring newer forms of worship and forget that Methodism began with innovative worship practices designed to bring the gospel to the people.
  • We forget that our fewer and poorer denominational ancestors started more than one thousand schools, colleges, and universities within one hundred years.
  • And even as we seem helpless to respond to the growing racial diversity of the nation, we remember that when Bishop Asbury died, one-fourth of American Methodists were African Americans.
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