Today we gave out 20 new bicycles to some of our Indian pastor friends.
Courtesy of the people of Good Shepherd, the new two-wheelers will be used by Indian preachers as they travel from village to village planting churches and discipling believers.
One of the pastors I spoke to currently covers an area of about forty square miles that includes one “station” church and four house churches. And now he’ll have a bike to use in riding his circuit.
I used “circuit” there on purpose . . . the similarities to the deployment of preachers in Orissa to the early days of the Methodist movement is uncanny.
(And this network doesn’t have ties to Methodism; just an energy and enthusiasm that parallels our origins in both Great Britain and the U.S.)
There’s a bishop. There are supervisors — men of experience and accomplishment who in addition to pastoring their own churches provide mentoring and guidance for younger clergy. In Methodism we call them District Superintendents.
And there are circuits . . . local preachers don’t serve in simply one spot but ride a circuit of several preaching & teaching points. In Methodism then and now, virtually every preacher at some point serves a circuit of more than one church … from 1990-1999, for example, I preached at Midway UMC near Monroe at 9:45 and then drove 13 miles to preach at Mt. Carmel UMC at 11:00.
In early Methodism the circuit riders rode horseback.
Here, they ride Scwhinn.
Schwinns that you all have provided by your generosity.
I tell you this a lot, but it bears repeating: please notice that we did not take a special offering for the bikes. No mission fund raisers. We simply teach generosity, you all give in that spirit, and then we are able to bless ministries around the corner and across the globe with our abundance.
Because we don’t nickel & dime you with small requests, your money is able to make a big impact.
Even the two-wheeled kind.