A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten Lancaster First UMC News Stories - 2014

What are the top Lancaster First UMC news stories from 2014? That's not easy to rank with so many highlights, but here is my personal top ten list. And no, my infatuation with taking selfies with church members didn't even make the list!


Singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" for Easter Sunday

Our wonderful music ministry leads us in singing this amazing piece each year for thee most triumphant Sunday on our church worship calendar. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! I can't wait for next Easter Sunday!


Youth serving Holy Communion 
Our youth sit together every time we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the 10:30 am service. They also serve at several of the communion stations. It's always nice to know I have a fan club close by. It's also wonderful that they are providing leadership every time we receive this Sacrament that reminds us that through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are invited to receive new life.


Holy Week Services - Last Supper Drama

Most churches have average to low worship attendance for their Holy Week services (Maundy Thursday & Good Friday.) Our church experienced record numbers in attendance because of our Last Supper drama that tied into our Lenten sermon series on "Who Were the Twelve Disciples of Jesus." This drama was done several years ago at our church so it was nice to continue this tradition.


The Twelve Disciples of Jesus Lent Sermon Series

This Season of Lent sermon series gave our church the opportunity to learn about the twelve disciples of Jesus and why Leonardo da Vinci depicted them the way he did in his famous painting. 


Church Float Prize - Holiday Parade

Our Creative Ministries Team did a great job with our holiday parade float. We won one of the prizes for best floats. Way to go First UMC!


Four New Staff Members

It's not often for a church to hire four new staff members in one year, but that's what we did. Due to retirements and staff changes, we now have a new Discipleship & Outreach Director, a new Youth Director, a new Maintenance Tech, and a new Discipleship & Outreach Administration Assistant! Around this time last year, I told our Staff/Parish Relations Committee that we shouldn't be too busy in 2014. Boy, was I wrong! We owe a lot of gratitude to this committee for hiring wonderful people to equip us to serve in ministry in the name of Christ.


Crossroads building debt dips under $800,000!

To help put our church in a better financial position for the near future, we decided a few years ago to accelerate the pay off of our large Crossroads building debt. We are presently in the middle of the fourth of a five year campaign with the goal of being debt free by June, 2016. We hit a milestone this year when we dipped under the $800,000 mark. Thank to pledges, memorial gifts, rentals, and many fundraisers, we are rapidly seeing our debt drop lower and lower! This is great news!


Congregational Church Photo for New Pictorial Directory

Our combined worship service back in September, gave us the opportunity to be in a church wide group photo in the shape of a heart. Over 400 of us are in this photo. A colorized version of this photo is the front cover of our new church pictorial directory. By being in the shape of a heart, we are reminding ourselves that God is calling us to Love First, just like our church logo says.


September combined worship service at Crossroads.

On the same day that we took the large church wide photo, we also worshipped together for the first time at our beautiful Crossroads facility. It was a great day. We also worshipped with Grace Fellowship Community which worships every Sunday morning in our Crossroads facility. It was an inspiring day of worship, singing, and celebrating our unity in Jesus Christ.


Launching of new Love-Grow-Serve church vision and discipleship process

Our church is excited about our new vision and discipleship process of Love-Grow-Serve. Those three words are simple, but powerful! We love through weekly worship. We grow through classes that cover the core areas of our faith. We serve by being part of a LifeGroup of 3 to 12 people where we not only share our faith with each other but serve in ministry as a small group. Expect to hear a lot more about Love-Grow-Serve in 2015!

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