The News of Zion
Love God
Love People
~Luke 10:27
October 9, 2020
Musings ~ Innovation or Institution...

Last week I started a series of articles to ask some questions about what we are doing as a church in both the local congregation and in the greater church beyond. I presented the idea that as a church, we are failing at the mission of the church and in all honesty, I think that has to do with paradigm shifts that have happened through the centuries that have drawn us away from the original mission and intent of the church. I posed three questions that I hope might help us to consider a different perspective for looking at what it means to embrace a form of discipleship which will help us become and grow into a better expression of what I see as Jesus’ vision for the Church.
The first question was how do we create innovative ideas for people to live into instead of preserving institutions? I’m sure there are people who would ask the questions, Why not both? Why not have innovation that shapes the institution? Those seem like reasonable questions and I wish it were simple enough an issue to stop there and say, you’re right. The short answer is I don’t think the church was ever intended to be an institution. It was a movement. When movements get to the place where they become institutions, they lose the flexibility that allows them to move and respond to the needs of the people, sometimes needs the people don’t realize they have.
I imagine the next question to follow would be, if the church is a movement, what kind of innovation does it need? It needs to move. Currently, our polity (at least in the UMC) is based on a book written over two hundred years ago (1784). The polity can and has been updated through the years, but over time, I think it has gone from a few basic ideas on how to conduct a Methodist society in the new world (50 pages) to an excessive, and often tedious, rulebook (879 pages). The growth of this book has much to do with the growth of Methodism, national and international cultural changes, and the many unions, splits, and reunions, and all the bargaining going along with each. In the process, the book has become a testament to political wrangling and overly wrought specificity rather than a practical guide. For me, that lack of practicality, especially in ministry concerns, is when the book loses its effectiveness. This is representative of the greater structure of the UMC and its immovability.
I think this mentality has trickled down into many churches, not to protect the greater denominational structures but to protect the local structure itself. The focus becomes buildings, programs, salaries, and the like while mission is a singular byline with usually a tiny fraction of the budget. I think we need to let go of this institutional focus and mindset and take on the mindset of pilgrims, those journeying through this life with the goal of creating and carrying the Kingdom of God with them rather than looking for a place to set up a mini-Kingdom and its institutional presence. I believe the church should be able to quickly adapt to its
surroundings and the needs of the people in those surroundings without having to protect the institution. I think the baggage of institution and institutional thinking is what keeps the church from being nimble enough to react to the world with new methods to share the timeless truth of God. The truth is the building is just a convenience.
So, how do we move? Get out of the structure. For Christianity to function well going forward, I believe we need to see the bible as a wisdom book, a guide to living in the presence of God, rather than a rulebook. I believe we need to focus on building relationships. We need to simplify the practice of  discipleship:
Love God—this is a matter of practicing worship together and devotion individually
Seek healing and wholeness (definition of soteria, the Greek word translated as       salvation in the New Testament) for yourself as a person maturing as a disciple through the Holy Spirit.
Love neighbor—this is a matter of showing mercy and grace to those around us and seeking justice for those who cannot do so themselves.
Help others in our lives seek healing and wholeness as we are all guided by the Holy Spirit.
Christianity is a way of life, a way of living and being not a set of propositions and not a place to argue about those propositions. For us to innovate, we must return to that mindset and allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit in day to day, moment to moment discipleship. The innovation will be that we as a church become the church to the community around us and do not limit those who are around us to only those like us but that we open ourselves to the experience of immersing ourselves in every community of people we can. We must leave both the physical and personal buildings we have created and walk a pilgrim path, opening ourselves to whatever leading and prompting the Spirit has next for us.
Pastor Michael
As we continue to gather for worship together, just a few reminders....

  • If you are sick or have been sick in the last week before gathering, please stay home. We want to see you but more importantly, we want to see you get better. If you are immune-compromised or part of an at-risk group and concerned about your health, we suggest you consider staying home for your safety.
  • On Sunday mornings, we will continue to gather underneath the covered walkway that leads into the family life center nearest the sanctuary. The ground will be marked by at least six-foot intervals to keep people separated as we enter. Once inside, there will be more markers. Once inside the gym, an usher will direct you to chairs that will be at least six feet from any other chairs. Please stay in these areas during the service. Please do not hug, shake hands, or make physical contact with   others gathering, for their safety and yours. When the service is over, we will file out one area at a time, going out the doors nearest the area where the buses are parked.
  • Masks will continue to be available for folks to wear during the service. These are not optional. Please expect to wear a mask if you join us for worship.
  • We will continue our prohibition of all other activities other than worship for now.
For the safety and well-being of each person that gathers with us, we pray that you will be willing to abide by these safety measures. We also STRESS the need to SOCIALLY DISTANCE! Please do not compromise the health of yourself or others during this time. May we all continue in prayer for our church family, community, and country.
Charge Conference will be held on Thursday, October 15th at 7:00 pm in the TFLC of Zion. All members of the church are invited and the Administrative Board members are urged to attend. Members of the Administrative Board are members of the Charge Conference and they are: Dennis Hall, Steve Moseley, Laura Everall, Susie McDonald, Keli Thomas, Jimmy Neal, Judy Humphreys, Tom Salisbury,
Hazel Robinson, Libby Morris, Dianne Sweatt, Missy Snipes, Brooke Collins, Cierra Hartley, Dwayne Ray, Wendy VanDyke, Rock Love, Diane Rape, Earl Hinson, Terry Robinson, and Jeffrey Thomas. Everyone is asked to wear masks and to sit socially distant.
You are invited to a drive through Baby Shower in honor of Treston and Kayla Yost Strait on Sunday, October 18 from 2-3 pm. It will be held under the bus drop off at the Thompson Family Life Center. Please stay in your car
and just drive through, Treston and Kayla will greet you! 
Parents to be are requesting diapers of all sizes and wipes to
stock up for their baby boy!!
Dear members of the SPRC and Zion Church, I greatly
appreciate the gift given to me in thoughtful appreciation of my additional voluntary work for Zion Church. I love my church and church family and appreciate the gift and recognition of work done.     ~ In His service, Missy
Be a light in the Darkness
Please remember to call and check on your church family and friends during these troubling times. Many of our members are unsure or afraid of returning to worship  together and have also lost the connection of Sunday school. A call or a card can make a world of difference to those who are struggling with fear, loneliness, and isolation. 
Pastor Michael continues to offer morning prayer and Bible study. Join us each morning at 7:00 AM for Prayer and meditation. Join us, also on Thursdays at 12:00 Noon for Bible Study. Pastor Michael is hosting these from our Facebook page. If you are unable to log in LIVE, these offerings remain available for viewing after on our website and FB page.
While the church office remains closed, you are encouraged to reach out if you have a need or know of a need. You may call Pastor Michael at 1-859-475-8800, call the church office, 285-3864 and leave a message, call Missy at 804-2434 or email or; these emails are being monitored daily. The answering machine will also be checked daily. During these times, we ask everyone to pray together for each other, our church family, our community, our country, and our world. May God be with us all.
Please remember these in prayer:
Nancy Ackerman
Angela Bailey
Francis Bell
Phillip Bell
Rick Black
Marion Boswell
Chance Bowers
Carol Boyles
Randy Boyles
Caleb Catoe
Sue Catoe
Carol Cauthen
Brandy Champion
Ann Chappell
Linda Coker
Sandra Cope
Bill Dingler
Sophia Dixon
Angie Dobson
Heather Elder
John Elder
Ashley Fort
Betsy Gardner
Mike Gay
Judy Goodnight
Travis Gordon
T.R. Grier
Catherine Hammond
JoAnn Hinson
Rev. Shelly Holder
Kevan Horton
Eric Hough
Libby Hunter
Melinda Hunter
Rick Joyner
Henry Ray Knight
Mary Jane McAteer
Bill McCorkle
Kevin McCorkle
Ann McManus
Tammy McMillian
Debbie McWaters
Marie Moree
Rusty Mosier
Bell Perry
Betty Jo Phillips
Ann Powers
Vicky Pickett
Ann Reed
Kathleen Robinson
Mayme Jo Robinson
John Rollings
Virginia Rollings
Nancy Rushing
Bonnie Sears
Eva Small
Greg Smith
JoAnne Smith
Billy Sowell
Robbie Stepp
Matthew Sweatt
Jim Thomas
Mike Vick
Pat Vick
Myrtle Walker
Ellen Walters
David Woodruff
Kim Yost
Our President and Troops
Those affected by the COVID-19 Virus
Even as we offer in-person worship, our services will still be made available online on our Facebook page. Log in to our Zion United Methodist Church Facebook page this Sunday for our service if you are unable to make it to church!! The service will also be available on our website at
Current Upper Room Daily Devotionals are available for pick up at the church! We will place some of these on the table as you enter the life center and some in the plastic communication box outside of the life center doors where the buses are for those who do not have access to the church for you to pick up. There are large and regular print copies available.
While our United Methodist Women will not be meeting for now, our thoughts and prayers remain with each one of you and with all in need during these trying times! If you know of a need that our women can help with, please contact an officer in the women’s group so that we can try and meet any needs! Executive officers are Sharon Haile, Darlene Hallman, Terry Robinson, Missy Snipes, Dianne Sweatt, and Mary Knight.
October 9: Steve Moseley, Robert Woodward, Terri McAteer, Matthew Whitley
October 10: Dianne Thomas, Brent McAteer
October 11: Michael Stogner
October 12: Jamison Craig
October 13: Mr. and Mrs. David Haile
October 14:Becky Barton
Our United Methodist Men's third Sunday meeting and our weekly Saturday Bible Study meetings have been suspended until the stay at home order has been lifted and we are told that we can begin to gather again.
The members of Zion ARE CONTINUING
to support the ministry and outreach
of the church!!!
Thank you to each one of you who have adjusted to this change in our lives and have continued to support the ministry and outreach of Zion UMC and for your continued presence at online worship!!! You can continue to give online through the website, by clicking on the donate tab. You do not need to have a PayPal account to use this option, simply click on the donate button and follow the prompts, you can text your giving to 803-525-1834 and follow the secure link, or you may give by mailing your tithes to the church at 1665 Zion Road, Lancaster, SC, 29720. If you have misgivings about online donations or mailing your donations, a locking mailbox has been installed under the covered carport where the buses are. You may place your contributions in the box and it will be checked daily.
Together we can move forward.
Together we can continue and make a difference!
Special Gifts to Zion Church
In Honor of:
Jamison Craig on his birthday Love, Nana
Carol Cauthen and Nancy Ackerman by Steve and Susie McDonald

In Memory of:
Mike Burgess and Morris Sistare by Mike and Diane Rape
The Record Speaks....
October 4, 2020

Present for Worship: 48
Needed each week for the General Fund $4,360
Received for General Fund $6,411
Received for Building Fund $75
Received for Needy Fund $100

"...because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to."
Deuteronomy 15:10,,
803-285-3864 -
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