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God is able! Dancers help celebrate The United Methodist Church's Imagine No Malaria campaign at the 2016 General Conference. #UMCGC Photo by Paul Jeffrey, United Methodist Communications.

Photo by Paul Jeffrey, United Methodist Communications

God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine. Imagine No Malaria celebration song, “Able,” reminds us to boldly serve God and neighbor.

United Methodists celebrate Imagine No Malaria and continue to inspire one another toward missions that will change the world. #UMCGC Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

United Methodists celebrate Imagine No Malaria and continue to inspire one another toward missions that will change the world.

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‘More than we could ask or imagine’ – God-sized dreams of service

 

A UMC.org Feature by Joe Iovino*
May 18, 2016

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)

In Christ, through Christ, and with Christ, the church can do amazing things. The evidence was on display during the Imagine No Malaria report to the General Conference on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.

When Jesus is preparing his disciples for the time when he will be taken from them, he promises that the ministry they have been doing together will continue. According to John’s gospel, Jesus says, “I assure you that whoever believes in me will do the works that I do. They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 CEB).

That sounds like hyperbole. How can we, even as believers, do greater things than Jesus?

Then, from time to time, we see it happen.

The United Methodist Church celebrated Imagine No Malaria at General Conference.

At General Conference 2016, The United Methodist Church celebrated Imagine No Malaria in song and dance. Photo by Maile Bradfield, United Methodist Communications.

Since 2008, The United Methodist Church has led a program to improve global health called Imagine No Malaria. Together we provide mosquito nets to cover beds, lead prevention programs, open health care facilities, train health workers, and more. The work has resulted in the cutting of malaria deaths to half what they had been. The goal is to eradicate malaria deaths completely.

At General Conference 2016, The United Methodist Church celebrated the culmination of the Imagine No Malaria campaign and the launch of a new initiative called Abundant Health. As we have been working to combat the preventable disease of malaria, we will now cast our vision wider.

According to the report, 6 million children die from preventable diseases every year. Our goal is to reach 1 million children with lifesaving intervention in this new quadrennium, 2017-2020. The initiative will protect children from death and disease in every place around the globe.

This is the church at work.

In the video presentation that was part of the Imagine No Malaria report, a woman says, “There is nothing more beautiful than the people of God coming together.”

Together we can do amazing things no one individual or congregation could do on their own.

Membership in a United Methodist congregation also makes us members of the worldwide mission of the church. We are connected across the globe. Thus, when we say The United Methodist Church is combatting malaria, it means we all are. When we hear the denomination will work to bring lifesaving interventions to 1 million children, it means we will all be part of this work.

This is the church. At its best, the church of Jesus Christ can bring healing and wholeness to people across the globe.

This may be what Jesus had in mind when he said we would do even greater things through him.

Jeremy Rosado sang “Able.”

Jeremy Rosado led the singing of “Able.” The song is a gift to The United Methodist Church. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Our God is able

The Imagine No Malaria celebration concluded with a song led by Jeremy Rosado, worship leader and contestant in American Idol season 11. The song, based on Ephesians 3:20, is called “Able,” and available to be dowloaded for free from Imagine No Malaria and Amazon.

The words of the chorus, “Our God is able to do more than we could ask or imagine,” remind us to dream God-sized dreams. God can empower us to imagine no malaria and to work toward the abundant health by reaching 1 million children with lifesaving intervention.

This one initiative, however, should not be the extent of our imagination.

Earlier in the General Conference, delegates were introduced to Hannah Foust, a 14-year-old young lady who dreams for and works toward every person in Burkina Faso having access to clean water.

We too can dream as individuals to do amazing things in the world. We can also work as congregations to eliminate hunger in our communities. Our God is able to do amazing things in and through us, the people of faith. As Jesus said, “They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father.”

Following the presentation, it was announced that “Able” is a gift to The United Methodist Church. Congregations are encouraged to use the song without needing to pay royalties.

May we use the scripture and the song to encourage us to take on God-sized projects and change our homes, our communities, and our world.

*Joe Iovino works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications. Contact him by email or at 615-312-3733.