Bishop’s Retreat: Mike Slaughter on the Great Requirement

We are at the Bishop’s Clergy Retreat in Lancaster, PA. This year’s speaker is pastor of Ginghamsburg Church and author, Rev. Mike Slaughter.

I’ve been looking forward to this week ever since we learned at last year’s retreat that Mike would be with us for this retreat. I’ve long been impacted by Mike. In fact, the highlight of my D.Min. dissertation project was interviewing Mike at Ginghamsburg Church back in 2007.

The topic this week is also the title of his 2009 book, Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus. I have been reading the book in the last few days (I have one chapter to go, which I hope to squeeze in soon). The book is impacting me and will definitely have implications for my life and ministry!

In our first session this evening, Mike talked about the Great Requirement (in later sessions, he’ll talk about the Great Commandment and the Great Commission). The Great Commandment comes from Micah 6.8 …

He has told you, human one, what is good and what the LORD requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God. (CEB)

Mike uses the phrases from the NIV …

  • Act justly
  • Love mercy
  • Walk humbly with your God.

Mike noted that there are 2,000 references to social justice in the Bible. It was inspiring to hear how Ginghamsburg lives out the Great Requirement, particularly their work in Darfur.

One other thing I’ll mention before turning in for the night. Mike talked about four worldviews in the world today …

  • Secular (do life as if there is no God)
  • Soft-secular (believe in God but trust their possessions to give them security)
  • Post-secular (the present is the only thing that matters; it’s true if it works for me)
  • Christian (Truth will prevail; it may cost me my life; it’s not about me; it’s about God’s purpose)

Mike pointed out that one of the challenges in the church today is that many Christians, particularly in The United Methodist Church, are soft-secular in their worldview. They have invited Jesus into their worldview but haven’t allowed Jesus to transform them into his worldview.

Well, we’re just getting started. And, while I’ll try to post some snippets over the next couple of days, I will write more in depth later this week after we return home and have had a chance to process the retreat (and the book).

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