Last month I was in Seattle attending a joint cabinet meeting. Bishop Hagiya shared the story of feedback he received from a member of First UMC, Portland, after worship. Basically, this woman who was very involved in missional activity in the city told the bishop that his sermon which focused on discipleship was not relevant to the people she was engaging in the world.
This sparked a lively conversation in the room. I think we all understood where this woman was coming from including the bishop. Are we imposing church language onto the people we are trying to reach? How important is it that new people participating in new missional communities grasp our mission to make disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world? Is it the langugage or the missional concept that is important?
In Alaska we understand that we exist for the sake of mission. It is vital that we learn the language of the people we serve so we can "translate" the gospel in words and images people can understand. Is it time the United Methodist Church translate our discipleship language into words that can be embraced by the people we want to serve and bring to faith in Christ?