Bishop Scott Jones makes a point during his sermon at the Sending Forth Service.
Bishop Scott Jones, center, baptizes Emmalee Faith Cloud.
Kansas Area Bishop Scott Jones sent members of the Kansas East Conference home from the annual conference session, charged with following Jesus’ example of healing the whole person.
The Kansas East Conference met June 6-9 under the theme, “The Church United: Working for Wellness.”
“Jesus was interested in healing whole people,” Jones said. “When Jesus was healing physical illnesses, he was forgiving sins. He was curing the dis-eases people had.”
A passage from 2 Kings served as the basis for Jones’ sermon. In the passage, Elisha heals Naaman, a Syrian soldier. Jones said it is a powerful story of the basic things prophets did in the Old Testament in the name of God.
The act was wholistic. By healing Naaman’s leprosy, Elisha showed that God’s healing was not just for the chosen Israelites. If we want to save the world, we need to be an inclusive church, Jones said.
“I hope part of what you have gained from this annual conference is that your church should not be a club for benefit of its members,” Jones said. “I don’t care where you are from. There are unchurched people that you need to be loving. If Elisha can love Naaman the Syrian, there’s nobody in your town you can’t love. This is an inclusive God.”
At the same time, Jones said we’re an evangelistic church. By healing him, Elisha showed Naman the one true God. When Elisha healed him, Naaman response shows that he recognized God, although he was a beginning believer with a lot to learn.
“You need to be engaged in physical healing in your communities,” Jones said. “Whenever we engage in physical healing, we are also engaging in evangelism, and we need to get our heads around it.”
Finally, God healed Naaman, which demonstrates that we are in the healing business.
“Clergy feel inadequate because we don’t have the medical training; doctors feel inadequate about the spiritual stuff,” Jones said. “Jesus was engaged in preaching, teaching and healing. We don’t get a pass on the healing part.”
Jones said he believes the world needs a vital United Methodist church in every community here and around the world.
“We have a calling, and we have an opportunity, and we serve a God who is able,” Jones said. “God is able. Thanks be to God.”
During the service, Emmalee Faith Cloud, daughter of Leslie and Jacob Cloud, was baptized, and the bishop fixed the appointments to local churches and extension ministries.