Friday, August 04, 2006

Lunch with the Bishop

I had lunch with a Bishop yesterday -- and that's a novelty.

Orange Scott would roll over in his grave if he knew. He and the other Wesleyan founding fathers launched the denomination as an "anti-slavery and ANTI-BISHOP" Church.

Now, 163 years later, one of his ministers dined with the devil -- a bishop!

Actually, he's not a normal bishop.
Not the Eugene Robinson variety, mind you.
Not a Shelby Spong.
Not even an N.T. Wright.

Rev. Timothy Johnson was consecrated as a Bishop on his trip to Africa a couple of years ago. Little did he know, that he'd be elevated to the episcopate over there.

They made him a Bishop -- and he's been going back twice a year ever since -- launching MCMA Africa (Providing excellent ministry training for pastors and other leaders in Nigeria, Camaroon, and Ghana.) He preaches, encourages the pastors -- and has even officiated a couple of Nigerian weddings!

I really do enjoy my connections with good Bishop Timothy. He inspires me, and helps me think more deeply about being a visionary, strategic, and missional pastor. He keeps urging me to come with him. "Who knows?" he says, "Maybe they'll make you a bishop too!"

Now THAT would be worth considering.

Besides his work in Africa, he provides the best training for Sunday School teachers in the upper midwest.

I was scheduled to do a seminar for him this fall, but the other day, I discovered that the conference fell on the same day Amber Yoder had planned her wedding. Amber's parents, Nate and Patty have been with me from the beginning. They are dear friends, and key leaders in our church.

Although I was already "committed" to the conference, Bishop Timothy graciously let me off the hook -- so I can stay home and tie the knot for Amber.

And this, as Melville noted in Moby Dick, "seems reasonable enough in the good bishop."

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