Report to Charge Conference Part 2

My report this week to the Annual Charge Conference (October 11, 2:30 PM) is way too long for one Beacon article. As a result, I am sharing over three Beacon articles. This week is part 2.

Our new Fall season has been initiated with new discipleship opportunities. The pastors and laity are creating classes and resuming classes that we call small groups. At this point, each pastor is planning to lead at least one class with our renewed discipleship focus. In the final months of 2020, we now have opportunities in person (following COVID-19 guidelines) and by ZOOM. We expect these discipleship opportunities to continue to increase in options and participation in 2021.
 
Our wineskin is also being shaped with new budget realities. We have begun the painful process of eliminating staff positions and other budget reductions. As a result, we have reduced budget requirements for 2020 and are reducing our budget for 2021. In these uncertain times, we must assume planning more conservative budgets is good stewardship. One of the benefits of budget reduction is that it sharpens our focus for greater fruitfulness. As we reduce our budget, we also anticipate God is at work reshaping His church's future growth.

We are now in the process of phasing back our "in-person" worship. This is a process that will not happen overnight. We need the gift of patience. In the meantime, how is God at work now? We are strengthening our current worship opportunities for now and the future. Shalimar UMC will continue to offer strong traditional worship, ancient future worship, and contemporary worship! We are very committed to all three styles of worship.

We are excited to add an evangelism team with Lee Orr as the chair. Evangelism will be one of our major initiatives for 2021. The plans are to educate and inspire our entire congregation to be evangelists in their own way. This rebirth of evangelism goes hand-in-hand with our discipleship goals. Evangelism will seek to draw new people into the church, and discipleship develops them as disciples.

As a church, there are numerous ways we are coming back and renewing as a church! Let me list some of the ways.

  • In February 2020, we had a sermon series on forgiveness. This was needed for our congregation. 2019 had been a difficult year for us. In this series, in one of the messages, I asked the congregation to forgive my leadership in 2019. 2019 was my most challenging year of ministry. Amazingly, 2020 is becoming one of my best years in ministry even with COVID-19 challenges, division of our country challenges, hurricane challenges, and economic challenges! I have my joy back! And even better, I believe the church is getting its joy back too!
  • The spirit within our congregation is much better this year than last year. God has done amazing healing, and there is a greater sense of unity. The spirit of generosity of our congregation is growing through this crazy year. We are not likely to have a record year of giving but considering all the challenges; this will be our most remarkable year of giving!
  • We are making changes to our leadership wineskin. There is a renewed emphasis on expectations for our leaders. We are prayerfully looking to those that are living out their membership vows. This includes doing everything in your power to strengthen the church ministries. This means to live out our membership vows of PRAYERS, PRESENCE, GIFTS, SERVICE, and WITNESS. Moving forward into 2021, we will have a sharper focus on minimum requirements for our church leaders. Our Lay Leadership Team is reflecting this in the 2021 nominations we will submit to the Charge Conference.

Next week will be part three of this pastor's report. May the Lord bless you and keep you this week. Thanks for all you are doing to strengthen the ministry of the church.

Shalom,
Philip  

Philip McVay

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