by JR Finney, Conference Moderator
Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.
Psalms 100:2 (NKJV)
Most newer biblical translations change the word “serve” in the above verse to “worship.” I like them the both, and both words have something important to speak to us about our relationship with God, even though I grew up memorizing this verse as “serve the Lord with gladness.” With the recent change of leadership from Rev. June Boutwell as our Designated Conference Minister to Rev. Marie Bacchiocchi as our New Interim Conference Minister, I think the term “serve the Lord with gladness” is more appropriate.
The Board of the Southeast Conference is in the process preparing the budget, revising the bylaws, preparing the slate of nominations, as well as planning our Annual Meeting. These things and so many more are vital to accomplishing the work and ministry of the Southeast Conference. However, it takes more than a Conference Minister, a Conference Board, one part-time administrator/registrar, and 5 very part time contract staff to complete with excellence the vital work and volume of ministry before us. It also requires the efforts of many of you from our local churches to step up and “serve the Lord with gladness.”
June did a tremendous job helping to sort through the tremendous financial and administrative challenges the Conference faced to poise us to be more effective and efficient going forward.
With joy, we welcome Rev. Marie! We are looking to her to shepherding us as we discern together our God-shaped vision of ministry for the Southeast Conference. In addition, we look to her to lead us into that vision to which God has in store for us. This cannot be a one-person endeavor. To be successful, it will take the efforts of the whole conference: supporting the vision, volunteering our time, talents, and treasures, doing the ministry to which God is calling us.
As the Board Chair and Conference Moderator, I appeal to you brothers and sisters to step up to the plate and “Serve the Lord with gladness; …” You can begin by praying during the season of Lent. Identify one area of ministry within the conference which drives your passions, then be in prayer as to how you are willing and able to offer your help and support to that ministry. If we all “serve the Lord with gladness,” what a wonderful celebration it will be when we worship and “come before God’s presence (together) with singing” at the Annual Conference and throughout the year.