Tonight’s menu for the Terrific Nights Together Fellowship meal has been released…
Dinner will consist of BBQ and all the fixings, green beans, dessert & beverage. The children’s entree is chicken nuggets.
The fellowship meal is an outreach ministry that strives to provide food and fellowship to both church members and the community. We reach out to our homebound members, local neighbors, police, fire and rescue departments, and also invite Hill College students to drop in when they need a home cooked meal.
While the suggested donation is $5 for an adult meal, $2 for a child’s meal, free meals are provided to those who need them.
October 3 - World Communion Sunday
Come celebrate our oneness in Christ with Christians all over the world. We will have some instruments from around the world, as well as, several breads representing various countries. Of course we will have plenty of singing, a message and communion as well.
October 10 - Children’s Sabbath
We will celebrate children and discover ways we can be advocates for children. We will search for ways we can minister to the children of our church and in our community. The new children’s choir may perform – if they can get something learned in just two rehearsals!
October 17 - Laity Sunday
We will celebrate you – the lay members of the church. What are you doing in ministry; what can you do in ministry in the church, in the community, for Jesus?
October 31 - Stewardship Kickoff Sunday
We will hear how we are called to be people who give generously and joyfully to God through the church. Money and our use of it is a deeply spiritual issue. How is your spirit? Charge Conference follows.
October 17th marks the return of the Pumpkin Patch to First Methodist! Be among the first to secure your pumpkins for pumpkin pies, jack-o-lanterns, or how ever else you might use, large or small, top-quality pumpkins. They will be on sale on the church lawn next to the parking lot during the two weeks preceding Halloween (All Saints Day), October 31. Pumpkins will be sold from 10 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 6 on Sundays. This is a really big event so be watching for extra features advertised in the church newsletter, the Hillsboro Reporter Newspaper, and this website. Shown below are pictures from previous Pumpkin Patch days at the church:
“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that thou art.Thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.”
“Be Thou My Vision” is one of my favorite songs in the United Methodist Hymnal. It is a prayer and a reminder to keep God first in our hearts and in our lives so that we might be guided by God’s vision of whom and what we are called to be and do. How is your vision for your life? I wear glasses – without them everything is pretty blurry. Without God’s vision for me, life can get pretty blurry too. So I pray, “God be my vision.”
In the King James Version of the Bible we read, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) Do you have a vision for your life or do you feel like you are perishing?
What about your vision for your church? Do you have one? I’m sure God has one for us, but we have to discern together what that vision is. If we have no vision of who and what we are to be as God’s church, then we will perish – maybe not today or tomorrow, but we will perish.
I would love to hear what you believe God’s vision is for this church. We’re 154 years old; are we acting our age or are we living as the new creation God calls us to be?
“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.”
In Christ, Pastor Donna
Thank you to the United Methodist Men for a wonderful cook-out last Wednesday. We enjoyed the hamburgers (esp. the grilled onions!) and hot dogs and had a great time!
This upcoming week’s TNT menu, courtesy of the “Dynamite Chefs of TNT,” is:
Mexican style Rice,
Salad, Dessert & Beverage.
Children’s menu: Nachos and fruit cups.
Suggested donation: $5 adult meal, $2 kid meal
The Terrific Nights Together (TNT) Fellowship meals (Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm) have resumed with the restart of the school year.
Last week’s dinner, courtesy of the NTAC Ladies, was the first for this Fall and served 70 people. The meal of TexMex-styled Cornbread Casserole, Pinto Beans, Salad & Dessert (with Corndogs and Cheese Balls for the kids) was enjoyed by both community and church members alike. Thank you, NTAC Ladies, for a wonderful meal!
This week’s dinner, on Wednesday, Sept. 15th at 5:30 pm, is hosted by the United Methodist Men and will feature Grilled Hamburgers & Hotdogs (with a variety of fixings), Baked Beans, Chips, and Dessert.
Suggested donation: $5 for adult meal, $2 for kid’s meal.
Come join us for dinner and great fellowship!
On Monday I was among the Waxahachie District clergy who met with Bishop Mike Lowry. I know some lay folks from our church went to the evening session with the Bishop. He shared with us results of the “Vital Congregations Research Project.” The firm of Towers Watson analyzed data from 32, 228 United Methodist churches in North America measuring vitality in terms of attendance, growth over five years, professions of faith and annual giving per attendee. They found that only 15% of the churches studied were “high-vital congregations.”
So what did they find in these high-vital churches? What these churches share in common are 16 “drivers” of vitality that fall under the broad categories of pastoral effectiveness, worship, lay leadership and small groups.
Pastoral effectiveness: According to the study, effective pastors are those that develop, coach and mentor laity in leadership roles; influence the actions and behaviors of others to accomplish change; work with congregations to achieve significant goals and provide inspirational, topical preaching.
Worship: Churches with contemporary and traditional worship services also tend to be more vital. The research found that traditional worship services should include topical preaching and contemporary worship services should be multi-media.
The study also found that contemporary services work best when the music echoes what people hear on pop radio. Such services can use traditional hymns, but they had better have a backbeat.
Lay leadership: Effective lay leadership is also key to vital congregations. The most vital churches had 25 percent to 50 percent of attendees in leadership during the last five years.
Churches also have rotating lay leadership with people sharing their gifts in a variety of ways over time. People do not serve year after year in the same position. Effective lay leaders also demonstrate vital personal faith. They participate in disciplines such as regular prayer and Bible study, attend weekly worship, give proportionally, join in mission opportunities and share their faith with others.
Small groups and programs: Effective small groups can come in a variety of shapes, the research found. They include Bible studies, women’s groups as well as groups organized around missions or shared interests. Vital congregations also tend to have separate programs for children and youth.
So would you say we are one of the 15% of churches considered “high-vital?”
I think we have work to do in these areas; how about you?
Remember The 5 Practices of Fruitful Congregations? You all studied the book as a congregation back in 2008. You had 5 committees – one for each practice — to study even deeper and come up with recommendations for how our church could be more fruitful. The Church council adopted many recommendations for implementation with the promise that they would get accomplished. Do you remember? Could you name these 5 practices?
Could you name the recommendations that were adopted and whether or not they had been accomplished in the last two years?
Charge Conference is coming up October 31, 2010. The district superintendent will be spending a time of discernment with those church members in attendance (the Council and the SPR Committee). Part of that time will be devoted to rating our church on how well it is practicing the 5 Practices. They will also be looking at our church’s fruitfulness in regards to these 5 items: Worship attendance; People engaged in mission; Professions of faith, Mission giving: and Small group ministries for spiritual formation.
How do you think we are doing? Are we being fruitful? Are you helping us be a fruitful church?
By the way the 5 Practices of a Fruitful Congregation are: Passionate Worship; Radical Hospitality; Intentional Faith Development; Risk-Taking Mission; and Extravagant Generosity. Has our church and have you as a member of this church been fruitful in 2010? Are you passionate when you worship? Are you involved in a Sunday school class, Bible study, or other small discipleship group? What have you done in mission and outreach? Have you been generous in giving to the church? Are you hospitable when guests come to our church – even guests who look different from us?
The church cannot be fruitful unless those who are the church are fruitful. Are you? If not, what is keeping you from being so?
By the way, I have to answer these questions about myself too, as will the Staff/Pastor Parish Committee. All of us need to consider how we can be more fruitful and therefore cause our church to be more fruitful.
In Christ, Pastor Donna
It’s about 98⁰ outside right now and kids are screaming and running around the Family Life Center so I kind of wish I was back in Colorado in the Garden of the Gods where it’s cooler and quieter. I don’t really like the name – Garden of the Gods – but it is a magnificent place. As you can see in the pictures rocks stand upright and jut into the sky. They have been given names like “The Three Graces,” “Pulpit Rock,” “Tower of Babel,” and “Kissing Camels.” At the nature center you can watch a video and hear the scientific explanation of how those red rocks got that way – through a succession of earthquakes a million years ago or so. You can also learn how this place got its name – from a man who said it was “fit for the gods.” Of course, I prefer to think of it not only as fit for the one God but created by that same God – perhaps through the use of earthquakes.
When I think of creation or see some spectacular slice of creation – whether that be the Garden of the Gods or a butterfly or sunset or human being, I’m not only awed, I’m amazed. Walking among those huge red rocks, I felt rather small and insignificant. When I was a child, I would lie in our backyard and look at the millions of stars in the night time sky and get that same feeling of smallness – like I was just a speck in God’s world. I get that same feeling when I walk along the beach and look out at the vastness of the ocean. But then I remember, I am God’s creation too. Jesus said that God our Father notices even when a common sparrow falls so why do we wonder if God notices us – God knows every hair on our heads. In Isaiah 43:1 God says, “I have called you by name; you are mine.”
Yes, we may be just a speck in the immense universe, but God knows us, loves us and watches over us. Wow, that’s as awesome and amazing as walking through the Garden of the Gods.
In Christ, Pastor Donna