It happened to me. I have been thinking, reflecting, and preaching on AHA moments so much lately that I had one myself in relation to our church and our ministry. In 2016, we accomplished some rather amazing things, including a “Removing Barriers Campaign” that raised over $200,000 to help us make our facilities handicapped accessible and more welcoming. I hope that you have enjoyed seeing the amazing transformation that has taken place around our church campus.
In another remarkable leap of faith, we have leaned forward into 2017 by expanding our youth ministry with a full-time youth director and by planning new ways to increase efforts to reach the unchurched community around us. Just last Sunday, someone came up to me and asked: “Are there any more things that need to be done in our Removing Barriers Campaign?” I shared that we have a few small financial items still outstanding, but for the most part, the campaign is concluded and has been fully implemented and funded because of the commitment, service, and generosity of our congregation.
Then it hit me—my AHA moment! The building upgrades and renovations campaign at FUMCG are complete (although we are now renovating our youth space . . . See Paul for ways to help!),
but—and this was a rather big
but—a “lightbulb” moment for me—we are entering a new season of “removing barriers” that needs just as much of our shared commitment of time, talents, and financial gifts. Our “Removing Barriers” campaign was inspired by a story in Luke 5, where several stretcher bearers carry a paralyzed man to Jesus, going to extra lengths to remove the roof and lower him down so he can be placed before the Lord. Last year, our congregation completed some of the necessary work to alter our building so that we can bring more people to Jesus. Now, the REAL WORK begins! Not all barriers to bringing the unchurched to Jesus are physical. There are also spiritual, psychological, social, and even financial barriers to address.
Will you consider joining us for what could be called “phase two” of our removing barriers emphasis as we expand our outreach, our discipleship, our youth ministry, and our efforts to bring new people to Jesus?
Here are some concrete ways you can help. Please consider recommitting to each “lane” of our four-fold way of discipleship at FUMC:
worship passionately and regularly,
connect with a small group and form spiritual friendships,
serve on a ministry team or community outreach effort, and
give generously and regularly, trying to move toward the biblical tithe. If just four or more families began tithing this year, we could easily cover the 2017 missional budget. If you cannot do that, prayerfully consider growth in your giving. If you give annually, consider giving monthly or weekly. I am convinced that if we can give generously to special projects or emergency needs, we can also arise and meet the new ministry needs that have prayerfully emerged from our 2017 commitments. We are also in need of volunteers in many of our ministry areas. If you have time and inclination, let us know how you would like to serve. I am excited about how far we have come in faith and am confident that God will continue to bless us as we seek to be a blessing to our church, community, and world in Jesus’ name.
Worshiping, connecting, serving, and giving with you in Jesus’ name,