Skip to Main Content


Posted: April 22 2022 at 01:18 PM
Author: Rev. Arlene Christopherson, Asst. to the Bishop/Dir. of Connectional Ministries

Dyk625x400 F67ce

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." I have great memories of sitting in those tiny green chairs at a small table in the kindergarten room at my home church. We would all shout "NO" when we came to the phrase "hide it under a bushel, NO, I'm going to let it shine." The more we sang, the louder we would shout until one day, the upper grades teacher came in to tell us we must quiet down. The unabashed passion for faith in the shouts of a 5-year-old reminds us of the joy and love of God among us. 

We shine our light as United Methodists in so many ways: Disciple Making, Belonging and Inclusion, Influence, Connection, Impact, and Experience of God through the UMC. 

I know so many strong, faithful, deeply rooted United Methodists who love God, their church and the witness they offer. At times, we are missing an understanding of "How" we talk about our faith, our church, and our work. We more often need to channel a 5-year-old's passion. We need to stop hiding our light under a bushel so that the light can shine into our hearts, our homes and our community. 

To help us better learn how to talk about faith and witness, justice and connection – United Methodist Communications has launched a campaign called #BeUMC. The campaign introduces us to four pillars of our denomination. Within those pillars, we live out core values that inform our faith, our discipleship and the work of our church. 

Disciple Making – Christ-centered, deeply rooted, disciple-making, faithful and grounded in Scripture
Belonging and Inclusion – Diverse, justice-seeking, resilient and welcoming
Influence, Connection, Impact – missional, connected, world-changing and generous
Experience of God through the UMC – committed, grace-filled, Jesus-seeking, praying and Spirit-filled

Reread these core values and see where they resonate for you. How do you give witness to Jesus' love and grace, and where does your light shine? You may not resonate with all 18 core values, but some may pop out and rise to the top of your personal list. As you think about your congregation, where do you see your church shining a light, and what values are you living out.  

Once you identify your passionate places of witness and faith, I invite you to think about how your light shines with those values. This is the heart and the core of our Wesleyan tradition, our United Methodist faith, and our reach into the world. 

I was first drawn into the United Methodist Church after college through "Belonging" and "Inclusion." I found the diverse, justice-seeking, resilient, welcoming community of the UMC a place where I could grow and flourish, where I could explore God's call upon my life and feel supported. I stumbled over some traditions and practices – an open table for communion? That was mind-boggling. Yet, those differences taught me about an expansive God who welcomes all, a God I grew to love through the church's inclusion.

Almost 40 years later, I do not regret my choice. I have grown with the church and committed myself to living a grace-filled life of faith and witness. "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." 

Where are you celebrating your faith, your church? Where are you shining your light today? Share your story with the hashtag #BeUMC.

Churches can access the leader toolkit and details at

Click here to access sharable resources from the NIC.

News & Announcements

2023 Cabinet Crop

Welcoming Bishop Schwerin to the Northern Illinois Conference

Bishop Dan Schwerin’s first day serving as episcopal leader in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference was January 3. Bishop Schwerin grew up just north of us in W…

Bishop Dan

Bishop’s Column: Getting to know Bishop Dan Schwerin

Here are 10 things that will help you get to know our new Bishop.

Katie Moum 7xgtyefmxiq Unsplash

Did you know? Practicing Hospitality

This month’s NIC Reporter is filled with images of welcome. In the conference these days, we are driven by welcome. You only need to look at the conference calendar to see all the ways in…


A Toy Story that hits the road

The late Rev. Doug Williams brought the idea of making and distributing toy wooden cars to his congregation at Aldersgate UMC in Rockford in 2011 as a new ministry to children. Combining inspirat…