Read the full 2018 Annual Report Here
The State of the Church, Lakeview United Methodist Church
Arriving at Lakeview is a little different experience than I have had in other churches. Taking stock and examining the state of the church and setting goals is always a bit different the first year in a new appointment. What is different, and exciting is to step into Lakeview as your senior pastor, and discovering the joy and great blessing of a church engaged in ministry, seeking to be like Jesus, striving to be the best, and anxious for God to move and be moved by him.
With only four months serving LUMC, the focus is primarily listening, encouraging, and beginning the process of discerning where God is leading next. But, I do have some observations and some initial goals for 2019 though I often find that goals are moving targets, keeping us on our feet in an effort to keep up with God. First, a few observations;
- SPRC and pastors have done an outstanding job of filling staff positions. This is by far and above a group of people who demonstrate care for the congregation, competence in their jobs, joy in faith, and a determination to “make it happen” no matter the task. It is an incredible gift to LUMC to have the quality staff helping to lead this church.
- The Mission – Changing Lives; Caring for Mind, Body and Soul, is on point for this context and for the work and ministry at LUMC. Countless times I have heard from members and friends of the family, “I found family here.” That alone, testifies to the changing of lives in a time when many are experiencing loneliness even in the midst of increasing technological connection. What I see in action is far from a “maintenance” mode of caring for the congregation; there is a genuine and active engagement with the wider community, involvement in mission, desire to grow, and a desire to serve.
- Even while grieving the retirement of Pastor Butcher, I have felt welcomed with open arms by this family, thank you!
- While many churches are struggling to define vitality, it is evident here in abundance. TNT (Thursday Night Together) drawing members and community to a communal freshly-cooked hot meal at just $6, opens the door for newcomers to “test the waters” and experience not just a meal, but also worship and a chance to encounter God. In reality, this is another viable-alternative worship service. Amazing Grays, Bible studies, small group gatherings, prayer groups, GriefShare, “Docs Hangout” for memory patients and support for family members, a growing Stephen Ministry, and the list goes on.
- Nearly every congregation struggles to understand what the future will look like and how to draw new people into worship and the life of the church. I believe LUMC has taken a great leap ahead under Pastor Tom’s direction in providing the backbone for live-streaming to the internet. Under the leadership of Glade Kynaston, we have been streaming live on YouTube this year. On October 28, we began streaming the 10:30 service on Facebook instead of YouTube and the viewers tripled on just that first viewing. I believe that one aspect of our future will be reaching the unchurched/de-churched in ways like this. Church may look a bit different even while we maintain our regular services, there will be a new contingent of people connecting both on the web and in non-traditional ways like Thursday Night Together (TNT). Such “non-traditional” congregations will need new and innovative ministry for opportunity to serve and receive spiritual care. We know that younger people moving into the community (55-70) will be more connected and will seek spiritual spaces on the internet as well as finding their church through internet searches.
Some key points in this work include:
a. For part-time residents, this is a key to keeping them connected to LUMC while travelling or at their summer homes.
b. V-blogging – We are beginning a series of “video blogs” and short interviews with people to use on Sundays and on the web.
c. Planning and working toward live-streaming Bible studies and other aspects of church life.
d. Working on bringing the live-stream into several care centers where Lakeview members live and seeking others where there may be minimal spiritual care and worship available.
e. On-going use of “Dial-A-Prayer”, a ministry of devotion and prayer offered daily on a recorded phone line.
Here is our Ministry Plan for 2019:
Ministry plan for 2019
- Reaching into community through internet-based outreach
a. Create short devotional videos for social media (frequency tbd)
c. Place outreach materials in members hands
- Extend Sunday into select retirement centers with “off-campus worship via livestream”
- Concert Series bringing new people into campus for relationship building
- Developing practical ministries based on gifts and graces of members during the Lenten season
a. Sermon series – develop a webinar off the sermon series
b. Continued encouragement of gifts inventory by identifying leaders and opportunities for them
Caring for Mind, Body and Soul
- New Bible studies using retired pastors and other lay persons
a. Identify a Lay Spiritual Enrichment coordinator
b. Add 6 new home studies in 2019
c. On-going Disciple
d. Strengthen the focus of Sunday learning outside of sermons at 9 & 10:30 Sunday studies
- Continuing development of care ministries
a. Stephen Ministry
c. Training for additional visitation volunteers
d. Training for prayer intercessors
- Continue strengthening TNT and Amazing Grays opportunities for fellowship
a. Identify table leaders for TNT to develop stronger relationships and to welcome newcomers.
b. Utilize music and entertainment concerts for additional social and outreach opportunities drawing on the community.
c. Summer VBS
- Seek to involve more people in hands-on mission opportunities, i.e. 1mission or Justa Center
- Every member in ministry – congregational witness
a. Institute on-going video witness for Sunday services and (where appropriate) internet encouraging not only individual ministry but blessing of serving
Much of this work is already in process thanks to the able leadership of Pastor Ross, Pastor Linda, staff, and most importantly, the lay leadership of this body. Lakeview is an effective church because of the spiritual care, the welcoming AND inclusion of newcomers as a cultural component, along with a continuing culture of joy and fun in being a church family.
Read the full 2018 Annual Report Here