Pastor’s Corner: John Bailey
Pastor’s Corner: John Bailey
First United Methodist Church
Tell us about yourself
John Bailey is a mission pastor and mobilizer currently serving at Huntsville First United Methodist Church in Huntsville, Alabama. Before being called into full time ministry, John was a business owner and salesperson. Since 2005, John has served as a mission mobilizer in two United Methodist congregations in North Alabama. In this capacity he has overseen and facilitated over one hundred international and domestic mission trips. John has worked personally with several families or individuals as they have explored the call to full-time mission and ministry. John is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist church and his passion and desire is to see the Body of Christ equipped, empowered and prepared to be on mission with God. John is married to Laurel and they have two children.
What motivates you to do what you do?
It was ten years ago that I was invited to journey with some people to the High Andes of Peru to spend some time with a group of people who had not yet heard the Word of God in their own language. That invitation to journey has changed my life and I desire for others to share this experience. Something like 1/3 of the world has yet to hear the Good News and God is calling us to join in the work of taking the Gospel to these people. I believe there is no greater joy than being a first-hand witness to a life changed and transformed by the Gospel and I hope that all Christ followers know that experience.
What is God speaking to you right now?
A major theme in my life lately has been around doing mission better. There have been several books written in recent years offering a critical look at North American mission methods and I have been seeking God a great deal about this trend. I write to gather and process what God is telling me and I have recently written a book offering a Wesleyan perspective on doing mission better called, Journey to a Better Way. I believe the Holy Spirit is at work right now in a special way to encourage North American Christians to take a good, hard look at some of the things we do. I’m enjoying witnessing and occasionally participating in this wave of the Spirit of God.
What does unity in our city mean to you?
C.S. Lewis wrote on the beauty of diversity in the body. In his essay, “Membership” in The Weight of Glory, Lewis discusses two uses of the term member. One, commonly used, refers to becoming part of a homogenous group where everyone shares similar characteristics. However, when the apostle Paul refers to being “members of the body of Christ,” Lewis tells us Paul’s meaning is almost the opposite. Lewis believes Paul is talking about “things essentially different from, and complementary to, one another, things differing not only in structure and function but also in dignity … if you subtract any one member, you have not reduced the family in number, you have inflicted an injury on its structure. Its unity is a unity of dislikes, almost a unity of incommensurables.” [i] This kind of unity, the unity of dislikes, is a unity unlike any other. It is beautiful because it is so unlikely to occur naturally. When we witness people so radically different not only getting along but professing their need for one another, it moves the heart to praise. Revelation 7:9 describes it as, “A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”[ii]. John witnessed people who maintained their distinctions yet joined together in praise.
Prayer for the city
Dear God, as we consider this city, we are filled with gratitude. 150 years ago, this city lay in ruins as the conflict in our country came to an end and we began the process of healing. We are grateful for your grace and mercy that brings us to the place we are today. We are humbled by your incredible love. May we continue to move forward with you, seeking your face in all we do. Build us up, equip and mature us as only you can do. Teach us how to love each other. May we keep love primary in our relationships with each other. Thank you Jesus!
[i] Lewis, C.S. A Year with C.S. Lewis. New York: HarperOne, 2003, p. 127.