I am Andella Moore, a Methodist minister serving in the Belize/Honduras district of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas. Originally from Guyana, South America, I participated in The Walk to Emmaus on the Caribbean island of Barbados in 2005.
For years after attending the Walk, I said that taking this journey was the best financial investment I’d made in my spiritual life. It truly was, and by God’s grace, I continue to build on that experience.
Immediately after my Walk, I made two significant adjustments to who I was becoming as a maturing Christian. First, I became more aware of and began to talk about God’s call on my life to full-time, ordained ministry. I’d secretly been wrestling with what I’d perceived to be a need to unconditionally surrender myself to the will of the Lord. By the end of the Walk, it had become clear to me that God was indeed guiding me in the direction of ordained ministry. I was subsequently processed as a candidate for the ministry and am now an ordained minister of the gospel.
Second, and perhaps the most crucial aspect of my Fourth Day growth process, I needed to learn to receive God’s love so I could share it with others as I’d always wanted to do. Several factors had contributed to my inability to allow God to lavish his love on me. Emmaus gave me the opportunity I needed to respond to God’s love, after I spent time in the company of believers whose primary task was to lavish God’s love on me. The expressions of agape simultaneously stirred up my insecurities as well as my desires about being able to love. Love won! I knew that I’d had the capacity to love in ways God desired me to, but I was able to express love only when God’s love overflowed in my heart. My journey to giving more of my heart to God’s love began. I became a more forgiving, gracious, gentle, nonjudgmental, nonlegalistic person—all of which began to influence my relationships and my ministry. I became more assured of the value that God’s love brings into every equation regarding life and living for Christ. Being set free to love makes loving a source of liberation.
As a young Christian, I loved praying. However, the Fourth Day experience led me to desire a more meaningful prayer life. After becoming certain of God’s call to ministry, I realized I needed to embrace a more contemplative lifestyle. My reunion group meetings helped significantly in consistently pursuing my desire in this area. Additionally, I became more interested in exploring new ways of experiencing and communing with the Lord as an ongoing conversational partner. I began to plan more quiet time into each day and began learning other forms of scripture-prayer practices that would enable me to have a more effective prayer life—for example, lectio divina (sacred reading of scripture). I also became interested in writings of monks and contemporary mystics. Since then, I’ve become fascinated with Rumi, whose writings inspire me to explore new themes. Along with incorporating the discipline of fasting more regularly into my schedule, I also began attending at least one fasting camp a year, where I would submit to emptying myself in order to further discern and embrace God’s will for my life. Progressively, I’ve had to adjust to the Spirit’s guidance in new ways of exercising piety. For the past two years, I have worked with a spiritual director who listens to and supports me. Two weekends ago I completed my first four-day personal silent retreat. Needless to say, that won’t be my last one.
Admittedly, I’ve had to challenge myself to go beyond my usual reading for sermons and presentations to support my own personal interests. Consequently, I’ve tried to incorporate reading a chapter a day from some spiritual resource into my devotional life. I challenged myself to improve my reading so I could develop greater personal and vocational/professional awareness as a faith-based leader. Hence, my reading list has expanded quite significantly over the last two years. My current readings include Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness by David Steindl-Rast, and 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell.
My desire to see better Christian leadership in our community has led me to develop a curriculum for leaders of the congregation I serve. I plan to train 30 leaders in three years who can advance our church’s ministry to the community we serve. The first group of 10 leaders in this first year is being exposed to models of biblical leadership, becoming grounded in Methodist leadership principles, and exploring personal development. Years two and three of the curriculum are still under construction. By the third year, we will be able to assess the program’s effectiveness and make the necessary adjustments to present the curriculum to our church district as a model for leadership development.
Another significant action I’ve undertaken as a team approach is in the multimedia presentation of the Pause Power program. Last year, I became part of the Belize government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I couldn’t ignore the increasing burden God had allowed me to feel for his people. I felt that as a church (the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas), we needed to respond beyond merely offering pantry items and pastoral care to the nation’s peoples. In my opinion, physical distancing was further harming people, who all suddenly became vulnerable. I could sense the mourning of our people and knew that they needed more companionship to journey through the challenges of this uncertain period. The Mission and Evangelism Committee of the Wesley Circuit accepted my proposal for the program, and with our superintendent’s endorsement, Pause Power launched on May 3, 2020. Three seasons later, the ministry has become a source of inspiration as we helped people grapple with the emotional, physical, and spiritual dynamics of the pandemic. Further, the program seeks to encourage people to become more resilient and demonstrate proper stewardship of the gifts, graces, and passions God has blessed us with. Our guests have been intentionally selected from across the Caribbean and North American regions, and Pause Power has increasingly become a household name in Belize.
As a results-based individual, I thrive on evidence of growth and transformative change in individuals and groups, and I believe God desires to transform us so that we can change our world. As we are exposed to the consequences of broken humanity, people of faith should actively seek practical ways to influence people and situations. We want to increase our capacity to respond to the mandates of scripture and bring about God’s kingdom on earth. I am hopeful that as God’s people, we will be more willing to examine (not just as an academic or theological exercise) and embrace the incarnational nature of the God who calls and sends us. I believe that everything depends on leadership. If as a church we can dare to truly partner with God in creating, healing, and restoring the world, we will begin to see a movement of God that is necessary for the times that we live in. As part of the church, I look forward to our increasing engagement with other partners who are dedicated to individual and community development. I look forward to our raising the bar of excellence in selfless service to all. I pray that together we will have a greater sense of our need to submit to God’s mission, rather than trying to coerce God into what we perceive to be God’s mission in the world.
Rev. Andella Moore is a Methodist minister serving in the Belize/Honduras district of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas.
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