Faith Stories: The Wesley Awards
In April I was asked by the leadership of the Annual Conference to help with judging the applications for the annual Wesley’s, presented at Annual Conference on June 9, 2015. The Wesley Awards honor distinguished ministries at local churches from around the conference. Each church can self-nominate in one of four categories based upon the mission of the Annual Conference.
Initially, I was hesitant to take on this extra project as the deadline for sending in my selections was right in the middle of law school final exams (and the day before my most difficult final); however, just like our pastors, as laity, I serve at the pleasure of the Bishop and accepted.
Upon receiving the heaping stack of applications, I quickly sifted through them to find an application from St. John’s UMC for our work as a host site for Consulado Movil de Mexico (mobile Mexican consulate). After reading the application my initial thoughts were disappointment, So-and-So UMC is going to beat us again and we can do better than this!
Next, I got acquainted with the criteria for judging and learned the different categories. As I sat down to read the applications I was overcome by the amazing ministries that Louisiana United Methodists are taking part in. There were several that stuck out as clear winners; these were innovative ministries that to me were all-around remarkable. Others were standard (but equally important and meaningful): quilting groups, back-to-school programs and x-ministry groups.
After I read all the submissions I found myself thinking how truly amazing St. John’s is, for the ministry and mission that is in our DNA. I quickly recanted my initial thoughts on our application and began to see it as a frontrunner. Thinking back, our application fit. It was who we are and could not have been a better testament to our desire of meeting the needs of the community and coming together to make it happen. I’m pleased to say that the other judges agreed, and that we took home our first Wesley. You can see the gold bobble-head John Wesley statue on display in the sanctuary!
In life I tend to set the bar high, sometimes unreachable but always leaving room for growth. However, I am reminded that we do not have to spend the most money, have the fanciest building or the most volunteers to have a meaningful ministry. Yet, the success of our ministry comes from our common commitment to do good and serve our neighbors. My experience with judging the Wesley Award applications reminded me that fortunately we are not competing against anyone. As long as we are doing our best and serving God we are on the right track.
Nonetheless, I continue to hold high expectations for St. John’s and our ministries with and in the community. I am motivated by both what other churches are doing and the love that we share for each other and our common bond of serving Christ. St. John’s truly is a missional church and I am thankful every day to be part of such a wonderful family. I can’t wait to see how we will continue to respond to our call to Feed People, Make Disciples and Glorify God over the next few years.
All of this to say, I’m already signed up for our new Introduction to the Spanish Language class taught by my former high school English teacher and St. John’s member Mrs. Carol Young. Won’t you join us in becoming prepared for the next visit from the Consulado Movil de Mexico?