Print this Post

Virginia UMC Bishop Lewis to S.C. United Methodists: “Stir it up!”

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis

Oct. 25, 2018

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis traveled from Virginia to bring a challenge to South Carolina United Methodists assembled in North Charleston Thursday for the 2018 Summit on the Black Church.

“You’re the only ones who can stir it up,” the resident bishop of the Virginia Conference of the UMC told about 140 clergy and laypersons. “Pastors and laity, we’ve got to work together. Don’t wait for the bishop to tell you to stir it up. Don’t wait for your district superintendent to tell you to stir it up.

“It’s time for the body of Christ to be free to stir up the gifts. When we are free to operate within our gifts, we have the power of the Holy Ghost within us.”

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston

Bishop Lewis centered her message on 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NKJV): “Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

“We are living in critical times, and unfortunately in 2018, on TV and in our social media newsfeeds we are still witnessing racism, sexism and bigotry in this country,” Bishop Lewis said. “Our churches are in trouble. Our clergy sometimes feel demoralized, and our laity sometimes feel like giving up.

“What things are you agitating? What things are you disturbing? Or is it business as usual in your churches? Are you agitating your public officials to stop this police brutality that is killing our sons and daughters? Are you agitating your community to encourage people to get out to vote?”

Bishop Lewis

Bishop Lewis offered three suggestions for those who feel that the “pilot light has gone out” on their “fire for the church”:

Recognize you have a gift

“The Bible teaches that all believers are blessed with at least one gift. You need to do something with it. God will give you the power you need.”

Use your gift for the common good

“What good is it for you to have the gift of teaching, if members of your church are still acting like babes in Christ? What good is it for you to have the gift of evangelism, if your church never grows spiritually and numerically, and no one hears the Gospel message outside your church? What good is it for you to have the gift of hospitality, if your church members run off all people who do not look like them, act like them, talk like them?”

Work for a movement, not a revival

“With a revival, we shout, get happy, go back home and do the same things. We need a fresh, Wesleyan movement. If we want to reclaim our vitality, we need a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. We need a fresh fire and a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to blow over some of our souls, to blow over our churches.”

“Ask yourself,” Bishop Lewis said, “are you using the gift in you, or has your pilot light gone out?”

Rev. Dr. Sandra Stevens Poirel

Rev. Millie Nelson Smith

Rev. Anthony Hodge

Bishop Holston

Bishop Lewis and Bishop Holston




Permanent link to this article: http://www.umcsc.org/home/bishop-lewis-to-s-c-united-methodists-stir-it-up/