2023 fmcusa general conference

July 25-28, 2023

GC23 News

Preparing the Way

September 19, 2022

Bishop Linda Adams

Bishop Linda Adams

Board of Bishops

Bishop Linda Adams, D.Min., was elected to the Board of Bishops at General Conference 2019 after serving 11 years as the director of ICCM. She previously served as a pastor in New York, Illinois and Michigan. As a bishop, she oversees Free Methodist ministries in the North and North Central portions of the United States and also in Latin America.

By Bishop Linda Adams

Over the past several months, the bishops have introduced a new “vision frame” in all our annual conferences. As part of this, we’ve declared that our mission as a denomination is “igniting a Spirit-fueled movement that catalyzes the multiplication of leaders and churches.”

We are excited to see this mission gaining traction. Many conferences are seeing ignition sparks, small flames, and hopeful signs among their churches. Across the country, a passion for a church-planting movement is on the rise. The Free Methodist Way includes the value of Christ-Compelled Multiplication, and we are gratified to see lots of new initiatives on the horizon.

Now we are asking the Lord, “What needs to happen next to bring about this Spirit-fueled movement?” Vision casting is essential, plans are important, networks and connections are inspiring — but what else is needed?

One answer has come to us from God’s opening conversation with the prophet Jeremiah. God tells Jeremiah that He has set him apart from before birth and appointed him as a prophet, but Jeremiah objects that he doesn’t know how to speak and he’s too young. The Lord overrules Jeremiah’s objections and promises to be with him and rescue him.

“Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant’” (Jeremiah 1:9–10).

How we need God’s very words in our mouths! The nature of prophecy is that God initiates messages for His people and even for nations and kingdoms. God calls His servants to be attentive to those messages and faithfully speak God’s truth. As Jeremiah experienced many times, the prophetic calling can be unpopular and dangerous. God’s promise to rescue him foreshadowed the rejection and persecution Jeremiah would undergo at the hands of rebellious people.

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“God calls His servants to be attentive to those messages and faithfully speak God’s truth.”

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Jeremiah’s appointment involves six actions:

to uproot and tear down,

to destroy and overthrow,

to build and to plant.

The order of the words is not coincidental; before building and planting, other work is essential. To build, the land must be cleared of debris and leveled. To plant, soil must be cultivated and tilled; weeds and old crops must be pulled up by the roots. Some powers must be destroyed and overthrown before new rule can be established.

In Jeremiah’s case, the full-blown practice of idol worship had to be uprooted before the people could worship the one true God. Jeremiah was called to declare to the people that idolatry cannot coexist with faithful worship of Yahweh; God equates idolatry with adultery and demands covenant love and loyalty. The shrines of the idols had to be literally torn down. Judgment was coming.

So we ask ourselves: What might need to be uprooted, torn down, destroyed or overthrown to pave the way for building and planting in a Spirit-fueled movement?

Already we have seen God answer this question in sobering ways. One church discovered a racist declaration in its founding documents; it called for a service of renunciation and repentance. A conference discovered a pattern of sexual abuse in one of its ministries; the allegations needed to be investigated and consequences brought to bear. In some places, political alliances have displaced loyalty to the kingdom of God and have driven a wedge between church members and even family members, calling for reconciliation and a return to King Jesus.

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“A passion for holiness leads to reevaluating our habits in entertainment and spending and reinvigorating our lives of worship and prayer.”

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As we dig deeper into The Free Methodist Way, some of our churches have come to recognize a long, slow drift away from each of the five values. For instance, Life-Giving Holiness requires giving God first place, honoring His name and His day in ways that have slipped from our consciousness. A passion for holiness leads to reevaluating our habits in entertainment and spending and reinvigorating our lives of worship and prayer. Recognizing the gap between God’s righteous and gracious invitation to be holy and the casual way we have behaved toward Him calls for repentance. This new awareness involves uprooting and tearing down sinful habits that hinder our life in the Spirit in order to travel on the highway of holiness once again.

For the Spirit to ignite and fuel a movement among us, we need to heed and declare God’s Word as Jeremiah did. We must allow God to break up fallow ground, convict us of anything that hinders His work among us, and clear away whatever He names as a hindrance. Move among us, Holy Spirit! +

Bishop Linda Adams

Bishop Linda Adams

Board of Bishops

Bishop Linda Adams, D.Min., was elected to the Board of Bishops at General Conference 2019 after serving 11 years as the director of ICCM. She previously served as a pastor in New York, Illinois and Michigan. As a bishop, she oversees Free Methodist ministries in the North and North Central portions of the United States and also in Latin America.