“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Is 43:19).
In the last article, I shared with you the theme of my sabbatical break which is “Roots and Wings.” I mentioned that some of my time will be looking back and reflecting on where I have been. The second part of the theme is about looking forward and stretching my wings.
I have a number of books on my list to read concerning the future of the church. These include: “The Great Emergence” by Phyliss Tickle; “The Emergent Church- Undefining Christianity” by Bob DeWaay; “Unbinding the Gospel” by Martha Grace Reese; and “An Emergent Manifesto of Hope” edited by Doug Pagitt. My hope is that these books, and others, will give me insight into some of the directions that the 21st Century church is heading. I will be looking for ideas that fit our values and enhance our ministry.
I will also be traveling to Washington D.C. to spend time with Dr. Stan Ott, the President of the Vital Churches Institute (VCI). Our church has been in relationship with the VCI in the Acts 16:5 initiative since 2009. This is an opportunity for me to receive some intensive coaching and mentoring by a leading visionary Presbyterian pastor.
For the church portion of the “wings” theme, we will be hosting a Saturday - Sunday workshop with Dr. Stan Ott. He will join us for an all day event (9 a.m. -3 p.m.) on Saturday, September 14th. Participants will learn ways of stretching their faith wings personally as well as strategies for continuing the transformation momentum as a church. Lunch will be included. Then on Sunday, September 15th, Dr. Ott will lead a combined adult Sunday school class and preach at the 11 a.m. service. This is made possible by the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Grant.
I have created a “blog” where I will be sharing my experiences and thoughts during my sabbatical. I encourage you to check it regularly beginning in June. Here you will see pictures of my trips and reflections on what I am doing and learning. You can find it at A Season of Sabbath
Finally, I want to express my appreciation to the congregation for caring enough about me to help make this time away possible. This break is one way you are giving pastoral care to me as I take time to rest and renew. I have thoroughly enjoyed ministering with you these past 7 ½ years, and this sabbatical will prepare me for the many more years ahead with you.
Grace and peace to each of you!
Your friend and pastor,
For the first time in at least eight years, the Stewardship Ministry Team tried a different approach to our time and talent sheets. We held a “draft day” in which each of the ministry teams presented a brief overview of their work. Then those gathered had an opportunity to sign up for various jobs around the church and agree to serving on a Ministry Planning Team.
The theme was a “football” draft and many leaders were dressed up in football jerseys. Tables were decorated with footballs, megaphones, and pom-poms. We had a delicious meal of hamburgers and hotdogs cooked out on the grill, along with potato salad, slaw, and hot dog chili. Many thanks to everyone who helped make Sunday a success.
If you were not present and didn’t have the opportunity to sign up for a ministry job or agree to serve on a planning team, you still can! Come by the church office and pick up a draft report to see all of the jobs we need people for. You can also view the “Draft Report” by clicking here. You can sign up for these specific jobs as well as indicate what planning team you would like to serve on. Either call the office (336.248.2140), email us, or stop by in person.
We still need people for:
• Member Care Planning Team;
• New Member Visitation and Assimilation Planning Team;
• Faith in Action Mission Trip Planning Team;
• Building and Grounds Planning Team;
• Stewardship Planning Team
There is a place for you!!!
“Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they will tell you.” (Dt 32:7).
I am just one month away from beginning my sabbatical break, and I wanted to remind you about the theme and how I hope that you can be involved.
A healthy, growing plant needs to have deep roots in order to be nourished by water in the soil which will then enable the plant to stand firm in the face of drought and storm. Yet at the same time, the plant must be able to "spread its wings" and reach the sky in order to bask in the glow of the sun and bear its fruit in due season. A healthy plant needs both roots and wings. This is the theme of my sabbatical.
On Sunday, we took another step toward our restructuring by electing nine of our current deacons to become elders in the 2014 and 2015 classes for our Session. As you may know we are combining the Board of Deacons and the Session and are reducing our elected leadership from 30 to 18. Now if we were to expect 18 people to do the same work that 30 did, then our restructuring would not be very successful. However, this is where you come in!
This informal group is open to all church members; each person is responsible for his or her own expense. Gatherings will be held Wednesdays at 6:00 pm. Everyone is encouraged to join us any week for fun, fellowship, good food, and lots of laughter.
In this extremely busy world, we Christians often experience Holy Week in a skewed way. We are at church on Palm Sunday when we remember the joy of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and we get a taste of what heaven might look like. We are there the following week when Easter Sunday dawns with the brightness of the rising Son. However, fewer of us are present for Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. It could be our schedules, but I wonder if it is something more?
Well, if you had any questions about the effectiveness of our youth and educational ministries, Sunday’s youth service answered them. I was very impressed and moved by the worship service planned and led by the youth. Each participant did very well. The music was beautiful, the prayers were well crafted, and the messages were meaningful and well delivered. It was a privilege to see the faith of our youth growing and maturing before our eyes.
On Saturday, April 13, 2013, caring folks from around the county will come together for a day of service and love. We hope that you will consider sharing your time and talent to help others in need in our community by participating in Touching Davidson County With Love.
There are a wide variety of projects lined up; project sign up sheets and t-shirt order forms will be posted in both the Narthex and Lobby of the church. T-shirt orders are due March 15, and checks should be made payable to First United Methodist Church. Each t-shirt costs $6 (please add $2 for XXL and XXXL sizes).
On Thursday, April 11, the TDCWL Prayer Service will be held at First United Methodist Church at 5:30 p.m. It will be followed by a hot dog cook-out.
The season of Lent often includes the devotional practice of “fasting” or abstaining from something as a way of drawing oneself closer to God. You will often hear about someone “giving up something for Lent.” This year I am giving up soft drinks. Every time I want a Dr. Pepper, I remind myself that I need to desire God as much as that soda!
I have a friend who doesn’t abstain from anything, but rather adds something to celebrate Lent. For example, one year she began collecting food for the local food pantry. At the end of Lent, she had 40 food items to give to the hungry.
“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” - Lk 9:51.
Near the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus “set his face” toward Jerusalem to experience the pain of the cross on our behalf. From that point on, he did not allow anything to distract him from his mission to go to the cross.