Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Called to be Bees

Trees are budding and flowers are starting to bloom here in Anchorage. Its beautiful! And because the flowers are blooming, the bees are starting to get busy. Notice the bees in springtime. They do not stay in one place more than they should. They spend time on one flower, do what they need to do, leave what they need to leave, take what they need to take, and move on to the next bloom.

I think we can learn from these busy bees.

A former District Superintendent whom I was recently in a retreat with asked how I was doing. I said the job has given me my fair share of joys and challenges. I said I enjoy the time traveling to different ministry settings and seeing great things happening in churches and communities. Her response struck me. She said, "Yes, I loved that too! During those times, you get to be a bee spreading the pollen." What she meant was, that she was in a unique position where she can be the bearer of stories and best-practices from church to church, setting to setting, so that the ideas were cross-pollinated in her district, thereby allowing ministry settings to bloom and thrive.

Like a bee spreading pollen. Spending time in one flower and moving on to the next but making an impact in all the blooms visited.

Transiency is one of our realities here in Alaska. The state's population turnover rate is among the highest in the nation according to Alaska Economic Trends, published by the Alaska Department of Labor.
Our churches and faith communities are not immune to this "highly migratory" nature of the population. It doesn't take long for us to observe this ebb and flow. People come and go. And while many of our churches have maintained their numbers, a closer look would yield that the people we may be counting in our rolls today may not be the same people we were counting 5 years ago.

Even our clergy population is transient. This year, we are welcoming 7 new pastors to the Alaska Conference this year. We are also saying goodbye to 7. That is a 25% turnover!

This is where the metaphor of bees comes into play. Bees are transient in that they move from flower to flower. And as they move, they spread the pollen with them, allowing the plants to bloom and thrive. They leave some here and take some from here to bring to the next one, and so on.
Perhaps we are called to be bees.

To those who are coming in, both lay and clergy, we welcome you! We look forward to the pollen that you bring. May you infuse our churches and our conference with your fresh ideas of mission and ministry. May your time here be a blessed time of cross-pollination and growth!

To the those who are moving out, both clergy and lay, we will miss you! May you share the pollen about your Alaska experience and the great things that are happening here! May you be bearers of the word about the exciting ministry and mission opportunities and partnerships available here. May you take a little of the Alaska brand of United Methodism with you to your new setting of life and ministry.


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