This past Sunday, as our bishop, Sandra Steiner Ball, delivered her message during worship, she spoke of dreams and dreamers. She spoke of people who were able to catch on to God’s dream rather than being enmeshed in the nightmares that our world so loudly proclaims. She invites us to dream with her and with God about the possibilities that lie before us as a community of faith.
A couple of days ago during a district clergy gathering, the bishop sat down with me over lunch and I asked her about some of the ministry that she was a part of back in Delaware before she came here. In particular, I asked her about the biker ministry that had taken root, and she began to tell me a story that demonstrates God’s dream and possibilities for the church.
In Delaware, where she was Director of Connectional Ministries for her annual conference, there was a local pastor who had a dream of reaching the 1% in the biker world (ie. the extreme motorcycle gangs like the Pagans). This local pastor, who was a biker himself, as well as a ex-Marine, gained the support of our bishop, and began a ministry to the biker community. He spent (and still spends) time in the biker bars, building relationships and trust. This trust has been so established that in some of the bars, the bartenders now ask him to preach. In the bar. Talk about a whole new world of possibility! Even more than that, he has gotten a group of hardened members of the Pagans to adopt the local children’s institution that cares for kids who are not stable enough to live at home. Every month, they come in, bring toys, and play with the kids for an afternoon. There is transformation that is happening there, and it is powerful! This local pastor has also started a worship center called “Last Call” that ministers to the biker community through worship, prayer, and healing, and he works to connect them to a local church. He caught on to God’s dream, and with the backing of the leadership of that annual conference, was able to make it a reality.
Here, in West Virginia, we have a strong leader in our new bishop who dreams big and is willing to get behind new and exciting possibilities. When we think about West Virginia and our own community, what are the possibilities for ministry that you can dream of? This is a new year, and we are a place of new beginnings. How can we, as a community of faith, begin to dream of the possibilities that God is calling us to? Open up your ears, eyes, and hearts to catch hold of the dream of God so that we can make it our own.