Pastor’s Report – 2019

Pastor’s Report – 2019

Note:  Each year I write a Pastor’s Report for our annual Charge Conference.  The following is my report for this year:


As I reflect on the past year, there are several things that I remember.  While there are no single, earth-shattering, monumental achievement to report, there are many small, sometimes incremental, changes that are building a sense of excitement and hope for the future.  Some of these are things that Christ Church has been doing for a long time but sometimes in a new way, others are new altogether, some are growing, and some are happening again after a long absence.

A class of confirmands graduated and joined the church and there have been two new member classes that have, so far, resulted in two new members, in addition to those from confirmation and transfer.  Among these were also two baptisms and a wedding.  We have trained and certified several of our members for the UMVIM Early Response Team disaster response mission opportunities that may arise in the future.  And several of our Sunday school classes have been discussing the call of scripture, and the command of Jesus Christ, to be invitational as well as how we can overcome our fear of inviting others to meet Jesus.

Our United Methodist Women continue to be a strong, positive, and missional influence on our church, our community, and beyond as they reach out in many ways and in many places with the love of Jesus.  Not least of these efforts is their continuing Cooking for the Soul mission, in which they are teaching the women of our community the basics on how to cook at home and save money by cooking from scratch instead of buying prepared foods.  These classes continue to be filled to capacity and often have a waiting list to get in.  It is my hope that, with a little encouragement, these classes might be expanded to include other subjects such as basic sewing, or home/auto maintenance and repair.

Likewise, the meetings of our church trustees have taken on a new tone as we are no longer just discussing issues of church maintenance and repair, but ways that we can make our church more inviting, friendly, useful, and available to new and emerging ministry opportunities.  Among these discussions are facility upgrades like expanding the areas served by air conditioning, new interior and exterior signage, electronic defibrillators, and upgrades to our electrical service to more easily facilitate our plan to once again prepare and serve over one thousand Thanksgiving dinners to the people of our community (which was a new ministry which we took over from another church last year).

The support of our entire church for mission, of all types, local, national, and international continues to be strong and passionate.  The people of Christ Church are often asking how we can do more and contribute to ongoing projects in unexpected ways without being asked.  We continue to support, both financially and with many volunteer hours, the Alliance Food Pantry, Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, and other community missions, support Red Bird Mission and its outreach centers in Kentucky, provide scholarships to school children in Sierra Leone and Liberia, as well as contribute to the construction of a new high school in Harrisburg, Liberia through our conference Farmer to Farmer mission.  And extensive as it is, this is certainly not a comprehensive list.  Christ Church and its people are doing the work of Jesus Christ in so many places, in so many ways, that it’s often difficult to keep track of them all.

There is an old question that I have heard in various places, from church conferences, to district superintendents, to books, to internet memes that asks, “If your church were to close tomorrow, would anybody notice?”  Christ Church can answer that question with a resounding “YES!”  As I reflect on our activities of the last year, I can say with confidence that we are here, we are active, and that Christ Church is making a difference in Alliance, in Stark County, and around the world.

It’s That Time Again

Note: Although this particular post specifically targets Christ Church where I serve, and I know that many who follow my blog do not attend in our physical location, I challenge you, regardless of where you are, to consider how you can be involved in your local church in the year ahead.  Feel free to look at the checklist that I included at the end of the article, and then dream, imagine, and listen for where God might be leading you to serve and what new challenges or adventures that God might be calling you toward.



It’s That Time Again

It hardly seems possible, but with youth and adults already back to school, marching band, and football season in full swing, we are reminded that it is also time for us to begin our preparations for our annual Charge Conference.

What does that mean for you?

Well, that means that it’s time for all of us to think about where we can “plug-in” to the work of running the church.  Every one of our committees will rotate and as many as a third of their membership will “retire” or take a break.  Additionally, there are things that we wish we could do, but never have enough volunteers.  And the month or two before Charge Conference is when we spend the most time thinking about these things. 

Soon, the Lay Leadership and Nominating Committee will begin meeting.  They will be talking about all these things (and more), will contact our current leaders to assess their willingness to continue, and then begin contacting those persons that they think will be able to contribute as next year’s leaders.  If you have an interest in serving on any of our church committees, or if you know someone who would be well suited for a position, it would be amazingly helpful if you could tell us.  That simple thing saves us time deliberating, calling, and “asking around” as we search for just the right person. 

I will also be doing something that may be new to you this year.  I have dug up a survey that I created more than ten years ago for our first pastorate.  That survey asks a lot of questions and some of them may not apply to you, some may not be things that we are currently doing, but all your answers can be useful during our nominations and as we plan.  After all, we can’t do new things if no one tells us that they are interested in doing them.  I have already revised it to suit this church better and you will see it at the bottom of this page.  Filling it out (and putting your name on it) might seem like a little thing, but as simple as it is, doing so can be a huge help.  If you don’t attend Christ Church, you might print it out and hand it to your pastor or whomever is certainly already planning for next  year at your church (I bet they’ll be surprised, but also grateful).

I hope that in the days ahead, each person will be thinking about how we might be a part of ministry at Christ Church next year.

Blessings,

Pastor John

 



How Can You Help?

Please let us know (circle) where you would be interested in serving!

Name: ______________________________

(Please Print)

  • Serve as Lay Delegate to Annual Conference
  • I’d like to____________________________
  • I wish our church _____________________

Worship

  • Choir
  • Bell Choir
  • Liturgist
  • Usher
  • Greeter
  • Acolyte
  • Change church/sanctuary decorations seasonally
  • Help to organize special services
  • Prepare with communion
  • Assist with communion
  • Review/Provide feedback on effectiveness of existing worship

Missions

  • Outreach overseas
  • Help with Community Dinners
  • Attend Community Dinners
  • Go on Missions Trip
  • Chaperone Youth Missions Trip
  • Local Outreach
  • Volunteer at Food Pantry
  • Volunteer at Alliance of Churches

Evangelism

  • Tell others about Jesus
  • Invite a friend to our church
  • Create events that attract others
  • Find ways of using existing church events to reach unbelievers

Education & Children

  • Sunday School Teacher (children)
  • Teacher Substitute (children)
  • Sunday School Teacher (youth)
  • Teacher Substitute (youth)
  • Sunday School Teacher (adults)
  • Teacher Substitute (adults)
  • Vacation Bible School/Music Camp Teacher
  • Present Sunday morning children’s message

Nurture

  • Provide care for existing members
  • Visit the elderly and those shut-in
  • Train members for a deeper faith
  • Organize training events
  • Remember those who are sick or hospitalized
  • Plan church social events
  • Maintain membership records
  • Record and maintain records of church history
  • Keep minutes of important meetings
  • Organize/assist with development of church Child Safety policies
  • Assist pastor in identifying gifts and talents needed for various committees
  • I can wear my name tag EVERY week!

Media Ministries

  • Operate sound system
  • Upload weekly video to YouTube
  • Develop computer projection designs for song lyrics/announcements/sermon outlines
  • Web page design and maintenance
  • Provide technical support and assistance to other ministries
  • Church Social Media Team
  • Take photographs

Finance

  • Keep financial books for the church
  • Help count Sunday offering
  • Provide wisdom/advise/have an opinion on church financial matters

Facilities

  • Identify/Assist with maintenance projects in church building
  • Organize work projects in Church
  • Anticipate/identify/plan for future needs of church

Hospitality

  • Help to welcome visitors
  • Help to develop ways to make visitors feel welcomed
  • Help to develop ways to attract and retain visitors
  • Be a sanctuary greeter
  • Be a Welcome Center greeter
  • Be a door greeter

 

 


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