I could feel the intent and even apprehensive gaze of the congregation as I sat down on the floor for Children’s Sermon. I knew what they were all thinking, and I was thinking the same thing: will I be able to get back up off of this floor?
Some might think that the term "vital congregations" applies only to large churches. But interestingly, about 64 percent of United Methodist churches have 175 or fewer members, and many of these congregations are thriving.
In an article in the United Methodist Reporter, Mallory McCall discusses the factors that enable small-membership churches to be just as effective as their megachurch counterparts. Be sure to check it out.
On October 10, the cover of our church's bulletin depicted the silhouette of a cross on a church steeple surrounded by high-rise office buildings in a large city at dusk. The scripture quoted there is Jeremiah 29:7, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Philip and I were out of town that Sunday and missed what was no doubt was a very inspiring message, so I picked up my Bible and read “the rest of the story” in Jeremiah chapter 29, verses 1-14.
There are many words to describe the past few weeks of my life as pastor. Some of those words are “too much,” “overload,” “migraine-inducing,” “an abundance of activity,” “are you crazy?” or “typical life of a pastor.”
The week before Convocation fit all of the above.
There are seven or eight paved roads in this boom-town that went bust. Each morning at sunrise, or shortly thereafter, Mr. Vernon covers each of them, slowly ambling back and forth, up and down, to the edge of Mr. Ronald’s fields and back –always turning around in front of the church, briefly touching the tip of his cap as a sign of respect to the old, white building that he has never been invited to enter.