By Keith Boyette
With grateful hearts, we pause to give thanks to and praise God for his extraordinary acts in our lives. I have just returned from the Philippines where I celebrated thanksgiving on Sunday with brothers and sisters at Buenavista Covenant Methodist Church, a Global Methodist congregation. In most countries around the world, at some point in their harvest season, people gather together to give thanks. Thanksgiving is a profound sign of our spiritual health and an essential discipline for any person growing in their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
John Wesley determined an attitude of gratitude was so important he intentionally scheduled thanksgiving into every day. He conducted a thanksgiving service at 5:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and then at the close of day. Because Wesley moved from place to place throughout the day, he would conduct this service wherever he found himself and with whomever would attend. For Wesley, thanksgiving kept him properly oriented in the midst of the circumstances of life.
The Global Methodist Church is now eight months old. Even before the church formally began operations, we saw the hand of God knitting together this part of the body of Christ. We give thanks for leaders, lay and clergy, moved by the Holy Spirit, who have given sacrificially to the work of preparation and new beginnings. Despite personal risk and criticism, they have, in word and deed, boldy proclaimed their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we give thanks for the staff God has provided. We are small in number but dedicated to the great work God has given us. We give thanks!
When we discerned God’s release and call for us to launch this new church, we were blessed to see God’s provision as clergy and churches globally began to move toward membership. We praise God for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Bulgaria who were the first to join the GM Church. Internationally, they have been joined by clergy and churches in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Recently, we celebrated the unanimous decision of the clergy and churches in Slovakia to become members. Earlier this month, the Democratic Republic of Congo Provisional Annual Conference of the GM Church completed the registration process in their country and began operations. Our hearts are filled with gratitude as we witness this new beginning for those committed to the historic Christian faith in the Wesleyan tradition. We give thanks!
In mid-summer, some key leaders in the United States stepped forward to become GM Church organizers in their regions. This has led to the formation of Transitional Conference Advisory Teams (TCATs) in twelve geographic regions. God continues to add to the number of organizers and TCATs. We now have provisional annual conferences operating in Bulgaria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mid-Texas, the Philippines, and South Georgia. By the end of the year, a number of additional provisional conferences will begin operations. Hundreds of churches have already joined and hundreds more are in the pipeline to join the GM Church before the end of the year. We give thanks!
God has provided for the GM Church to offer a full range of benefits for clergy and lay employees of local churches, including retirement benefits, and health, life, and disability insurance. We give thanks for the work that has occurred for the GM Church to be an endorser for military chaplains, and we are confident the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Board will grant such status. This will enable us to receive military chaplains into the GM Church and to endorse new chaplain candidates. We give thanks!
We are grateful for a number of strategic alliances and partnerships into which we have entered. In alliance with The River Network, more than 50 individuals attended a training event to explore planting new Global Methodist churches. The GM Church already has a number of new church plants, some being entirely new churches and others gathering theologically conservative Methodists who have withdrawn from churches that have chosen to remain United Methodist. And a third cohort of pastors is participating in a multipliers learning community with Exponential, an organization widely known for promoting an ethos of local church multiplication. We rejoice that God is opening doors for us to live into our missional priority of being multipliers. We give thanks!
Through your generosity, we are a platinum sponsor of an exciting new global mission conference, “Beyond These Walls,” which will be held in The Woodlands, Texas, from April 27 to 29. This conference will gather people from around the word to explore new and creative ways for accelerating the advance of the Gospel across geographical boundaries. We give thanks!
When Hurricane Ian left a wake of damage in Florida, the GM Church responded immediately to provide financial support for churches and communities that needed emergency assistance. Global Methodist congregations have given generously to our disaster relief fund. One hundred percent of the funds received have been deployed immediately to assist churches and communities. We give thanks!
God has abundantly provided the financial resources needed in these early months of the GM Church’s operations. We were blessed by the significant support received from the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Next Methodism Fund. Many members, friends, and local churches made very generous gifts, allowing the GM Church to move forward with confidence and thanksgiving. And now many new Global Methodist congregations are sending their connectional funding shares to joyfully support the general church and our growing provisional annual conferences. We give thanks!
And undergirding all that has transpired so quickly, a faithful and growing team of intercessors is praying daily for the GM Church’s leadership, staff, regional bodies, and local churches. We give thanks!
Jesus once observed, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37, NLT). In this harvest season, we joyfully pause to give thanks to our God for the amazing grace he has extended to us and for the bountiful blessings he has bestowed upon us.
We take seriously Paul’s admonition to “let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:16-17).
Let us ensure that we are thankful people not just at Thanksgiving, but in every moment of everyday. May our lives overflow with thanksgiving.
The Rev. Keith Boyette is the Transitional Connectional Officer of the Global Methodist Church, its chief executive and administrative officer.