As our Indiana Conference leadership teams have worked with the consultants from Spiritual Leadership, Inc. (SLI), one of the most profound principles we have learned is the need for all of us to move from the "Have-Do-Be" secular approach to life to the "Be-Do-Have" spiritual approach taught by Jesus and our Christian forerunners. Let me explain.
If we listen to the secular world, especially to the many ads and commercials which bombard us constantly, we can tend to believe that the meaning of life is to HAVE. We are told that we must have a whole variety of products, technologies, toys, and trinkets. The message is that we must have a bigger one, a better one, a newer one, a nicer one, and then we will be happy.
Likewise our culture says to us that life is all about what we DO, and the more busy our calendar, the more frantic and hurried our lifestyle, the better. Even in the life of the church, we strive to be busy, to be doing good things, and to have no extra time for anything - not even enough time to pray or listen to God. If you ask most people, "Tell me about yourself," their response is to tell you what they DO for a living.
Apparently the hope of our secular culture (which creeps into the church) is that if we HAVE and DO then we will BE happy and fulfilled.
Our SLI consultants have reminded us of the Biblical truth that life is about a different formula: BEING leads to DOING which helps us to be satisfied with what we HAVE. We are invited by Jesus to trust God, to focus upon our relationship with God and others, and then we will discover God leading us to live our lives in a way which provides fulfillment, meaning, and purpose. We should focus upon BEING a beloved child of God, who wants to DO the Godly things in life that make a true difference, and then everyone will HAVE what they need.
So our Indiana Conference leadership teams are spending up to 1/3 of our meeting times on BEING in relationship with God through times of worship, prayer, silence, and deep sharing. We then move to asking, "God, help us to prioritize what we DO around our mission and Your purposes." Then we begin to discover that we already HAVE the gifts of God in abundance if we live according to God's designs.
This shift from HAVE-DO-BE to BE-DO-HAVE is making a huge difference in our individual lives and our life together as Conference leaders.
UMC Bishop Mike Coyner in his E-pistle - 10/29/13