Your Congregation (or College) Has A Purpose

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I had a chance to give remarks on Tuesday at the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. I wanted to make sure folks knew that they are supporting a dynamic institution. Since I arrived 7 years ago there has been lots of great work done by our entire team- students, faculty, staff, alumni, board and friends. It has and always is a collective effort. Highest enrollment since Katrina. Record endowment. Record alumni giving. National press for signature academic programs. Winning athletic teams. Superstars all around!

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But Tuesday morning’s highlight was not me. It was this dude- Dr. Gil Rendle. Wow. He broke down everything about the state of so many churches (not just UMC). Here are some of my notes:

  • Your congregation has a purpose- what is it? Long established institutions know more about who they were than who they presently are.
  • We are in our own way!
  • The last time the United Methodist Church was growing was 1965! Now we are living with a condition since the mission field around us has changed. Something needs to change and that change is us.
  • Committee meetings are the product of people who don’t know what to do!
  • It’s about learning something new. It’s also about unlearning the old.
  • Churches wrestle with the myth of limited resources. In a consumer society we measure our life by what we don’t have.
  • The nation (both political parties) continue to look back, but what if what we have right now is enough for what God wants us to do?
  • Some churches have too much — buildings, land, etc.

You can tall ALL of this and apply to higher education as well. As I read about another school closing, we need to realistically look at who we are, not who we were, and decide what our purpose is now.

As my Little Rock pastor Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow would say, Rendle’s lesson was good to me!

The Prez

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

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