Friday, January 28, 2011

Back in July 2010 when I came to Pisgah, I found a church that had been sailing along for nearly 135 years. Through many long and sometimes difficult seasons since 1875, Pisgah United Methodist Church has been situated and doing ministry in the Long Shoals community.

There is no doubt about the faithfulness of the people of Pisgah UMC. One look to the past shows a church that has been developing ministries, paying their apportionments, and continuing to be a faithful witness for Jesus Christ every year of her existence. Today when many churches are declining, Pisgah remains constant in worship attendance, giving, missions, and ministry.

Yet that is not to say that we, like many churches, do not face challenges. We do. The world around us is changing every day. Technology, culture, mores, family mobility and structure, and much more have affected the way we are able do ministry and the way we are able to care for our members and the community.

At the first meeting I had with the leadership of Pisgah we discussed our need for future planning. I agreed that we need a vision and a plan. In order for Pisgah to meet the needs of the community, to be true to her values and identity, and to follow God's will for ministry, we need to make plans. Plans are difficult to make though when everyone is not on the same page with God and one another.

Susanne Farnham in her book, Grounded in God, says "God knows our deepest potential, sees the hidden complexities of our circumstances, comprehends our situation in relation to the larger picture and grasps the broader implications of our plans"(5). Of course! Discerning what God envisions for Pisgah can be our way of tapping into God's divine wisdom.

During the month of February, every person at Pisgah is invited to be involved together in hearing from God. I will be presenting a series of messages Jan. 30 to Feb. 20 surrounding the theological foundations for taking time to discern God's vision for our church.

Also we will be praying, gathering information, doing surveys, defining our community, collecting historical and demographic data, and planning for a Discerning and Visioning Retreat to share all we are learning. The retreat will take place on February 25th and 26th.

Those who can and wish to participate will meet together in retreat to learn, pray and seek God together in a spirit of Holy Conferencing. What we are aiming to do is develop a spiritual environment which can enable us to see more clearly God's vision for Pisgah UMC. That's exciting.

I look forward to the weeks ahead because I know that when we seek God together for God's vision God for Pisgah UMC, we won't be disappointed! To God be the glory!

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