Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Picture by Mike DuBose
Children play alongside a sewage-filled ditch in the Maxinde neighborhood near Malanje, Angola. Leaders of The United Methodist Church are focusing the denomination's work around four areas of focus, including eradicating diseases of poverty around the world.
The Four Areas of Focus express the vision and yearnings of the people of The United Methodist Church. Narrowing our focus to these four areas allows churches to use their resources effectively as they live out God’s vision for the church.
Engaging in Ministry with the Poor
Christ calls us to be in ministry with the poor and marginalized. Our emphasis is on “with” – standing with those who are regarded as “the least of these,” listening to them, understanding their needs and aspirations, and working with them to achieve their goals. It also means addressing the causes of poverty and responding in ways that lift up individuals and communities. United Methodists believe working side by side with those striving to improve their situation is more effective long term than top-down charity.
Improving Global Health
Knowing that poverty and health are intertwined, The United Methodist Church has become a key player in fighting diseases such as malaria and AIDS and promoting initiatives that improve well-being. The church is nearing its goal of raising $75 million by 2016 to provide education, infrastructure, communication and prevention measures to defeat malaria. In the space of about five years, the death rate from malaria in Africa has been cut in half, thanks to international efforts such as the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria campaign. This fight can be won.
Developing Principled Christian Leaders
The church needs leaders rooted in Christ, who have a vision for changing the world. Today’s young people have fearless hearts, vibrant ideas and a passion for ministry. Their talents should be nurtured to shape the church’s path into the future. The church must recruit young people — including women and people of color the world over — for ministry, equip them to be effective leaders and be open to where they want to lead us. We also must strengthen lay members, who are ministering at every level of the church.
Creating New and Renewed Congregations
Around the world, United Methodists are innovating with what it means to be the church, planting new congregations and revitalizing faith communities in every kind of setting. United Methodists seek to re-evangelize the world so that we can reach more people, especially the young and those from diverse backgrounds. By being relevant and vital, United Methodists will touch more lives and draw more people to Christ.The Four Areas of Focus express the vision and yearnings of the people of The United Methodist Church. Narrowing our focus to these four areas allows churches to use their resources effectively as they live out God’s vision for the church.