The Previous Year’s Journey
The past twelve months have been encouraging ones. I have been told consistent summer attendance and financial giving during this time was better than anyone remembers. Average attendance has increased from 90 to 118; a 30% increase! Average UMY attenance last year was about 5 whereas during the September launch this year attendance has been 17+. Membership has grown by a net 11 which includes 8 professions of faith, 3 infant baptisms, and 4 adult baptisms.
Following a workshop with Dr. Robbie Castleman last winter Parenting in the Pew launched this fall with the goal of teaching children how to worship rather than keep them quiet or move them to children churh for a more Sunday School enviornment. Every effort is being made to involve children in worship through song, drama, acolyting, etc.
A history is being written of the church and a new pictorial directory is on the way.
UMW spearheaded an intense growth in outreach through the Senior Food Distribution each month which offers food for the soul via the prayer room and fellowship as well as food for the body.
This Year’s Journey
Yes, we have had a very good year. Numbers are only indicators of spiritual transformation, but we are paying attention and will be planning how to increase the average quiet time, worship attendance, financial giving, and ministry participation.
Can the next year be another great year? YES, it can. In the midst of life’s busyness, the people of FUMC are digging in and demonstrating their commitment to Christ. There is more teamwork as well as more enthusiasm and imagining the church we can become in and for Jesus. August 3 Methodist Men had the first evening gathering in years with 51. UMY launched September 16 with 22 students.
The same day The Story Initiative began to increase the transformation of individuals into the image of Christ. In 31 weeks we will read the Bible, hear sermons, have a common topical curriculum from elementary, through high school, to adults during the Sunday School time, and involve 47 people in four small groups mostly in homes for the first time in our church’s history.
Children’s Ministry is being invigorated through Parenting in the Pew, Sunday School with The Story curriculum, and a deeper focus in VBS via a planned adult and children event planned next summer with Rev. Wesley Putnam called Dayspring and BibleQuest respectively.
Without a destination we will wander aimlessly. Our destination is not just to arrive in heaven, but to be restored and transformed into the image of Christ God intended for us in the first place.
Without the journey, we will not arrive at our chosen destination. We see this pattern of choosing a destination and an itinerary that will get us there in Scripture. Already in the first three chapters The Story we see God’s destination is to walk and talk with us; His presence creating beauty and joy in our lives. He chooses us and works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28) even when, like Joseph, it is impossible to see.
Together, may we walk intentional journeys with God’s destination for us in view. ENJOY the day to day journey. It alone will get you to your preferred destination. I BELIEVE. . .
The Best is Yet to Be!