Good Morning Friends. It is Friday, January 2, 2015. Part of me wants to reflect on the activities of 2014 in the church and world. I subscribe to a daily news outlet called “The Skimm.” My brother Raul sent a link to me on this to see if it was worth subscribing…it is a free subscription to highly abbreviated news of the day.
In the church, a great deal has happened with staff changes, missional emphasis, book studies and finances. There is much more than these four items that happened. The “News You Can Use” which is produced weekly and emailed out to 700+ folks tells the story. Email Pat Daniel to get your address book added to the email list.
We are changing website management. This is a big step, since websites are a major roadway by where folks looking for a church begin to look for a possible visit.
On a personal note, I just returned from visiting my mom and family in Corpus Christi…The Sparkling City by the Sea. My mom-Marcela Berlanga Alegria-will be turning 88 in May. The family is planning a “Double Eight” celebration in her honor. I thank God for my family that keeps me posted on mom, since it is challenging travelling 400+ miles to Corpus.
What is in store for the church for 2015? I have learned that any church that has “business-as-usual” has a short life expectancy. Today’s church has its challenges like never before. No longer can a church that has a sign (electronic or billboard) with times of worship and general information, a day school, nice-well maintained buildings, expect folks to just come on in. The church must take acongregational approach to a culture of inviting folks to worship and church activities. I believe in the ministry of invitation; however, changing cultural norms are saying… You now recommend a church to someone. Heck, you want me to go with you somewhere, invite me…pick me up if you have to. A personal invitation makes a difference. More on this in future epistles…
As a congregation, we continue to be welcoming to the stranger in our midst. If I do not recognize someone, I make it a point to extend a hand of welcome. I do this because it is the right thing to do and because I want to. I feel a blessing in doing this important ministry.
There have been occasions when no hand was extended and no welcoming words uttered while visiting some churches in my life. And it was not a good feeling. Have you ever experienced that? Send me a note of your un-hospitable visit somewhere.
Wear your name tags. If you lose it and can’t find it, as I do often do, order an extra from Barbara. I personally have three name tags strategically placed.
In 2015, I see the church being much more involved in the local community. How can we continue to impact the community? Are there other ministries currently not done that could be started and sustained? Are there some ministries that have run their life course and should be discontinued? Some of these are hard questions. Where is your involvement in the missions and ministry of the church?
Finances. I had someone say to me recently that all he could do for the church is just pray for it. Good. All prayers are heard by God; but the City of Duncanville and other utility providers want checks made payable to…
2015, I trust, will be a good year financially. I convened a Charge Conference for a large Plano church some years ago as a District Superintendent. Their budget was proposed and approved. It was about 4.5 million dollars for the following year’s budget expenses. Before we left that item to the next, I mentioned these words, “Do not let your budget determine the limits of the mission that God will place before you. Should God place more Kingdom work than funds budgeted, go find it…go ask for it. God believes that you will be blessed by being part of what God is doing.” There was a silence, at that moment, but heads began to nod in a silent “Amen.” I say the same for First Methodist Duncanville.
Leadership. Are you a leader? Leadership encompasses training and learning what to do and when to do it. I thank God for prior year’s leadership, current leadership and future leadership. The church needs more leaders. Are you a leader?
Discipleship. The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The local church is the greatest venue whereby disciples are made. You are invited to grow in your discipleship… weekday study, Sunday school class; or if something is not available because of your schedule or interest…let me know. Discipleship does not only happen on Sunday mornings. Praise God!
I thank God for a great staff. They work hard and are committed to the ministry of the church.
I thank God for the church, this church. I am honored to be your pastor.
2015 is full of possibilities. We are entrusted with it as the scriptures in Matthew 25:14 have so emphasized. Let it be said that the good folks at FUMCD have been faithful and true, should the Lord return in 2015. “…welcome into the joy of the Lord.”
Promise: next week’s Frankly Speaking will be shorter…
This month, Alex and I are preaching a sermon series entitled: Things I wish Jesus Never Said. Are there things you wish Jesus never said? Send some to me when you can.
Love to all, Pastor Frank
Soli Deo Gloria