1 Corinthians 3:6-8 (NIV)
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.
Change is very difficult. Whether we considered the change to be for good or not; change is always a challenge.
Most people get used to where they are. They are comfortable and nothing bad is happening. It’s not broken, why fix it? I like things as they are. We’ve always done it this way. I want the church to grow, but I don’t want it to change. These are words that are very familiar to me. At times they are hard to understand but my spirit reminds me, why I am here, whose voice I follow, and who I truly work for.
Of course, we know that not all change is good. There are many changes in life that are both painful and sad because the change that takes place is for the worse, not better. And then there are changes that change nothing, time passes, and we find ourselves in the same place, but with nothing to show for it.
It is in that spirit that I reach out to you today. I want to talk to you about the challenges that positive changes create and how we can meet and overcome them. One of our challenges is how to present Christ to the unchurched. We can start by doing outreach and mission work in our community, planting seeds of love and faith in others. Through different programs we can all engage in, the church can grow under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit.
And another challenge; who are the unchurched? In the last eight months that I have been serving God in our church, I have seen they tend to be the younger generation. Those that are still working, raising children, taking care of parents and living on a fixed income. There are mature people that are unchurched. But when I look at this area I find a lot of them to be homebound or they already belong to another church or they have been hurt by a church somewhere and just simply stay away.
While we are welcoming, warm and loving, the younger generation doesn’t find much to relate to us. They see us as retired, with no financial worries (whether true or not) and we represent the community that live in those pretty cabins or houses they can’t afford. They just don’t know that we have been where they are today and that is has been the grace of God that has carried us here.
With this in mind the programs, outreach, and missions in the 2019 church calendar were put together. Our first change will be small. We will be celebrating the Lord with a Praise and Worship Service on the fifth Sunday of the month (there are only four this year). The first one will be on March 31st. The music will be more contemporary. The service itself will be more relaxed. This is the service where we plan to use the flat screen TV’s, an anonymous donation to the church. We plan to learn as we go and the service will be in God’s hands, since He is the one that gives the increase. As we reach out to the community we will present a traditional service every Sunday except the fifth Sunday of the month, where we will present a more contemporary Praise and Worship Service.
For this outreach we need to work together, I need your cooperation, I need your faith not in me, but in Jesus. Your participation in the plans of the church for 2019 is critical to the future growth of the church. In order to grow we need to reach out in a more strategic manner. If we allow God to work in us, and through us, we can plant seeds of faith. God will give the increase.
I would like to explain how I see my role as your pastor, I am first and foremost dedicated and devoted to serving God in whatever way he chooses. This is why I am here. It is my pleasure to be your pastor, at this time in the life of the church.
Every prayer, every program, every fundraiser, every outreach and mission is lovingly put together with you, Cloudcroft UMC, in mind. I belong to God and you his church. If at times you are confused about my motives, plans or intentions, please in Christ come to me. Allow me the opportunity of explaining how the decision was made and the outcomes that we are hoping to achieve.
I find great joy in serving as your pastor. My leadership of the church may raise questions, but I assure you my goal is to serve God and you for as long as you will have me. I look forward to answering your questions, you can reach me at my cell 915-240-1783 or at church 575-682-2266, my email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In His service and Yours,
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