Pastor’s BLOG

Restructuring Ministry Teams

Back in 2013, the congregation voted to combine the work of the Board of Deacons and the Session into a single body. At that time we divided the work into 13 ministry teams with 18 elders in two classes of 9. Now that we are 5 years into the new structure, we have discovered that it would be helpful to have 2 elders on each ministry team. With 18 elders, it means we would have to reduce our teams down to 9.
At its March 2018 meeting, the Session voted to do just that. The Youth Ministry Team and the Adult Education Team responsibilities will now fall under the Education Ministry Team’s work. The New Member and Visitation Team will combine with Member Care in a new team known as the Member Care and Guest Outreach Team. The Outreach Ministry Team and Stewardship will combine into a new team known as Stewardship And Benevolent Support.
As a result of this new structure, a second year elder and a first year elder will be on each team. It is our hope that this new structure will foster continuity from year to year and make our work much more efficient. The new teams will be as follows:
 
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1. Worship and Music
Oversees all things related to worship including volunteer lists for ushers, lay leaders, children’s sermon, nursery, communion, flowers, candles, elder greeter, etc. Train volunteers for these duties. Provide volunteers for special services such as weddings, funerals, and baptisms as needed. Keep the handbooks for weddings and funerals updated and available to families as needed. Coordinate putting up of the Advent decorations and their taking down and storage.
 
2. Member Care and Guest Outreach
Coordinate Lay Ministry program, small groups, prayer groups, bread delivery to new members, new member buddies, and correspondence with members at life event times. Maintain the pew registers and cards in the pew backs. Plan for and publicize ways to attract new members and orient new members to our building and our programs. Keep the church directory up to date.

 

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3. Educational Ministries
Work with the DCE to determine curriculum and secure teachers for the educational program, and to evaluate the delivery of educational materials. Promote the educational programs to the congregation with bulletin boards, articles in the newsletter, and interactions with members. Act as the liaison with Scouts, preschool, YD’s, and Acts Alive to the Session. Plan with the church staff for the yearly church retreat.

4. Congregational Life
Plan and coordinate 1st Sunday Fellowship events, and other special events such as Memorial Day lunch, birthday dinner, ice cream social, pig picking, and events during Advent. Oversee and staff the fellowship time following the 9 O’clock worship service. Facilitate Presbyterian Table fellowship dinners.

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5. Faith in Action
Coordinates and encourages participation in ministry events such as TDCWL, Grace Episcopal meals, Operation Christmas Child, overnight stays at the homeless shelter, food for the Crisis Ministry, and mission trips both domestic and foreign. Plan other hands-on ministries to the members and to the community. Oversee Nuts on A Mission, chicken pie sales and other fund raising activities for missions.

6. Stewardship And Benevolent Support
Review requests from local helping agencies for monetary support and make recommendations for budget. Coordinate and encourage member participation in community agencies and events. Develop and implement a financial stewardship program and a program for giving of time and talents. With the finance team prepare the annual church budget.
 
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7. Finance
With the Stewardship and Benevolent Support team develop a budget. Perform an annual financial review, administer church insurance policies, administer Extended Giving Funds Policy, oversee and make recommendations for investments, oversee memorial funds, and administer the Winnie Green Scholarship program. The Endowment Team would be a sub-team under the responsibility of finance.
 
8. Building and Grounds
Develop and implement a maintenance program for the building and the grounds. Evaluate condition of building and grounds and secure bids for work needed. Oversee cleaning service and lawn service. Encourage members to help with building and grounds clean-up.
 
9. Personnel
With the Minister conduct a yearly review of staff performance. Coordinate with Session a yearly review of Minister. Keep job descriptions, vacation policies, salary and benefits, and work dates current and in accordance with denominational guidelines. Conduct job search and hire persons to fill job vacancies. Work with Minister to keep the Manual of Procedures up to date.
 
Each team will need 3 to 4 additional people from the congregation to help with the planning of ministry in each of the areas. This year’s Time and Talent survey is being developed with the new structure in mind and will be distributed in April. When you receive the survey, please fill it out prayerfully as you consider how you can be involved in the work of our church.
Grace and peace to each of you!
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee


Acts Alive Auction Success

 

This summer’s trip will be the fourth youth trip and the 14th overall to work with Mission Emanuel in the Dominican Republic. Twenty-five youth and eight adults will travel to the DR on June 16th through 23rd. In August, the group will lead worship and share with the congregation all about their experiences from the trip.
 
On behalf of all of the Acts Alive Youth and Advisers, let me thank our congregation for the many years of support for this important ministry of our church. We truly do have a preeminent youth program, and it is made possible by each of you.
 
 
Grace and peace to all!
 
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee


Take Courage, Have Hope, Trust God

In a sermon a couple of weeks ago, I used the image of an earthquake as a metaphor for the time in which we are living. All of the cultural changes we are experiencing along with the light speed advancement of technology has left us on ground that is shifting under us. We try to hold onto something that will help us keep our footing; and yet even those once trusted foundations are shaking as the ground rises and falls under everything. In this circumstance, it certainly is easy to feel unsteady in the present, fearful of the future, and nostalgic for a time before the foundations shifted.

The returning Israelite exiles from Babylon faced a similar situation. The nation and homeland they left 50 years previously did not resemble the desolate land they returned to. The temple was destroyed, the land barely able to grow crops, and those who had been left behind did not welcome them. As the returning exiles began to rebuild the temple, they realized that it would never be as magnificent as the former temple. Their uncertain future and unstable present made them long for the past glories of Israel.

The prophet Haggai pointed out that the magnificent temple that they reminisced about was now a crumbled building. The past could not be rebuilt, but the future was in the hands of their God who was not done with them. God would make something greater than just a former building of old. Through the words of Haggai, God encouraged them to take courage and do not fear for God’s spirit abides among them. God was not done with them or the advancement of the Kingdom. In fact God will do even greater things with them and through them.

This is a good word for us as well. Even in the midst of shifting foundations, God’s Spirit is with us. We do not need to fear the present or the future, because God is still active. God is not done with the church in general, our church in particular, and us as individuals. God has great plans for us even in the midst of the cultural and technological quakes we are living through. In the words written by Haggai, may we Take Courage, Have Hope, and Trust that God is not finished!

I encourage you to pray daily for God’s presence to be made manifest in your life and in the life of our congregation as we place our trust in the work of Christ in our midst.

Grace and peace.
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee



The Gift of Snow

Last Wednesday everything came to a stop as the snow began to fall early in the morning and continued through 4 p.m. Schools were closed; business where closed; roads were hazardous; and the safest course of action was to stay home. I made stew, worked on my sermon, and spent a lot of time just looking out the window at the beautiful snow.

Every time we get a snow that shuts things down, I consider it a gift. We live in such a over-committed and busy world that being forced to stay put is a blessing. Sometimes it takes a major snow storm to relieve us of whatever pressure there is to be productive and active, so we can rest and just enjoy being present to those around us.

Another thing I like about when it snows is how snow covers everything uniformly. It makes my muddy back yard look as pretty as the front yard that has some grass. Concrete driveways, asphalt roads, piles of debris, and bushes all get a uniform and pristine layer of snow. For just a moment, everything is beautiful.

That’s how it is with Jesus. There is a lot of ugliness in this world. There are a lot of things in our lives that are like piles of debris. Sin stains much in us and around us, but Jesus covers it all. Because of his work of redemption on the cross, we are covered with the righteousness of Jesus. All God sees in us is the original beauty of His creation. Through Christ, everything is beautiful. This is the good news of our faith. We are loved, forgiven, and redeemed.

May each of you be covered by the grace and mercy of our Lord!

Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee