Bishop Jonathan Holston of the South Carolina Conference delivered an inspirational sermon entitled “For God’s Purpose” on 2nd Corinthians 4:5–12. We were reminded to remember that the message of the gospel is not about us; it is about Jesus. We are only messengers.
In addition, Bishop Holston provided a historical canvassing of the start of the United Methodist Church in 1968, in a time of turbulence and unrest. “The Church is not a fragile piece of crystal,” he declared. “It stands on a firm foundation. The Church has withstood whatever has been thrown at it.” This resonated heavily with an audience keenly aware of the upcoming Special General Conference in 2019 and the General Conference of 2020. “The church is not built for your pleasure. There is not any person that does not need God’s grace and mercy.”
He reinforced that both the laity and clergy need to work together and not allow ourselves to become narcissistic in making the Church about we as individuals. No one owns the Church but God.
He was optimistic that Jesus will still draw even in these turbulent times, despite the world’s eagerness to write the United Methodist Church’s obituary. “There will not be a United Methodist Church if Jesus is not the center of our joy.”
In conclusion, Bishop Holston reminded us God’s purpose for the church was to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world, and to be generous for all of God’s creation. Bishop Holston reminded us that without Jesus there is no church. He stated that “Jesus still draws, and Jesus said, ‘If I be lifted up, I will draw all people to me.'”