I continue to offer this phrase, the motto of the Theological School of Drew University, as my personal mission statement. I am privileged to employ my gifts and talents for planning for the future, teaching, and preaching among the United Methodists of Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Our journey from small to larger membership church, from store-front to permanent facility, from predominantly retired persons to a diverse cross-section of ages, from charter visionaries to emerging leaders continues. Perhaps this past week’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration did more than anything to launch our second decade of ministry.
So far this year we have welcomed 50 persons into membership in the church (current membership is 484 persons). Our worship attendance is averaging 335 persons since Labor Day and we anticipate welcoming 10-15 persons into membership in November. In January and February of this year we read, taught, prayed and worshipped our way through Maxie Dunnam and Kimberly Reisman’s The Workbook on Virtues & the Fruit of the Spirit. From Ash Wednesday through Easter we prayed and studied through Mark’s Gospel. A sermon series on the Holy Spirit in the season after Easter has been followed by an extended teaching and preaching series based on Reuben Job’s A Wesleyan Spiritual Reader. We have launched new weekly Bible studies centered on the Ten Commandments and an Invitation to the New Testament (from DISCIPLE Bible Studies).
In our community we support Friend to Friend, the Sandhills Interfaith Hospitality Network, the Coalition for Human Care, Habitat for Humanity, and Moore Housing. With our hands we have mowed lawns, weeded and planted flower beds, replaced roofs, provided meals to the homeless with Community Presbyterian Church, and served countless hours in thrift stores. We have raised in excess of $40,000 for missions’ projects close at hand and at a distance. We are living into God’s promise to Abraham that we are blessed to be blessing.
I continue to challenge our church to remember with Paul that the work of a pastor is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (see Ephesians 4:11). I remain committed to setting each of us free for ministry in this place. Roger and Jean Hicks continue to invite God’s Spirit our worship life together. Todd Ferguson and Stacy Pell are a breath of fresh air for our children’s and youth programs. I give thanks for Ellen Hertlein and Roberta Culver who provided valuable assistance to the administrative life of our church. Their able handling of the details enables me to spend more time with the members of our church and in prayer with Jesus. I am also blessed to work with my colleagues Lovell Aills, Jean Arthur, Bruce Carlson, Emil Johnson, Betsy Kugel, and Ronda Torres. May we find strength in the willingness “to become all things to all people so that by all means some might be saved” (1 Corinthians 9:22).
As we look forward to our second decade of ministry with God in this place I would claim the following promises:
- Our parking lot construction will enable us to focus more on welcoming others at special events rather than “telling them where to go” to find more parking.
- In the coming year we will streamline our volunteer process to be more welcoming of individuals of various availabilities to support our children and youth ministries.
- Finally, we will strive to provide the tools and methods to help persons see themselves as gifted, talented, available, called, and fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.