The Great Rebuilding!
“Let us hold tight without wavering to the hope we affirm,
for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
And let us not neglect our meeting together,
as some people do, but encourage one another,
especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
- Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT
Dear “Core” Sisters and Brothers of the Atlantic Central District!
Greetings in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ! If you are receiving this Atlantic Central District email, you most likely are one of “the core” people in your local church. You most likely have made that commitment to prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. You may even serve in local church, district, or annual conference leadership, helping guide the next steps forward in building the Kingdom of God. I have a high appreciation for your commitment – thank you.
To you – part of the core – your local church needs you more than ever to co-lead and re-engage in its ministries as we move forward in “The Great Rebuilding”. It is no secret that COVID has decimated the local church – many already fragile. Now that COVID is receding, I have been traveling the district, meeting with local church leadership hearing about real struggles as we resume ministry. And as I have been attending worship, I find only a fraction of the people present. Even some of the people who the church once considered part of the core are no longer regular in worship. I keep hearing from pastors and lay leadership that people who used to serve no longer want to. I know that financial giving has decreased and the stress of making budget increased.
So, what do we do? What’s our role? The writer of Hebrews stated, “let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Get creative! Begin new things that reach out to unchurched people! Start a Fresh Expression of church! Get a couple of friends and contact people who have fallen away. Your prayerful efforts will be such a great encouragement to your pastor(s).
Another is prioritizing worship! “And let us not neglect our meeting together.” While online worship is a wonderful option for homebound, sick, and out-of-town folks, it is not a good option for any of us on a regular basis. Do not believe the lie that worship in front of your laptop or on TV is equal to in-person. Your presence makes a difference – you showing up every week is a source of great encouragement to your pastor(s), ministry team and others at your local church. Also, you benefit greatly by being with others in physical presence.
In early January, I read Cave, Refectory, Road by Ian Adams. Part of his reflection is on the human need and desire for deep roots and stability in an ever-increasing unrooted and unstable world. We know all about that – change is all around and in every aspect of life. Even still, this is what he writes:
“Rootedness and stability are still accessible, however complicated our life journeys. We can find a place to belong and contribute – somewhere to love the people, the creatures and the landscape; somewhere to commit ourselves; somewhere to shape and be shaped” (86).
I love that word picture – belong, contribute, love, commit, shape and be shaped. I desire that in my own life, and I know you do too. That’s my hope – that as COVID recedes “The Great Rebuilding” of the Church will occur, beginning with you, “the core”, and spreading out to the rest of the faith community, community at large and to the ends of the earth. That’s real Kingdom of God kind of building!
Grace and peace ~
PS – See you at Suntree UMC on April 2nd for “Thrive!” Register below!
Like never before, ministry of the local church is hard. Honest questions around the future are abundant. But even amid our real challenges, God is moving and wants us to not just survive, but Thrive! And we want to help charge that path forward!
Join us on Saturday, April 2, 2022 beginning at 9:00 AM. Matthew Hartsfield, Lead Pastor of Bay Hope United Methodist Church in Tampa, Florida, will lead us in two keynote sessions. There will be breakout sessions that will meet the real needs of the local church that will give your ministry a boost to take next steps to rebuilding the church right now and for the future.
Share this opportunity with your church leadership and register today for Thrive!
For details and to register, click here.
The Florida Conference is offering training opportunities for the following teams/individuals at the local church. Please share this information with your ministry teams and invite them to register. All sessions will be on Zoom.
Trainings provide information on roles and responsibilities for these areas. Your teams will receive important updates related to their area. These are for one hour. The time includes the presentation and a time for questions and answers.
These sessions are not being recorded.
For details of dates, times, and to register, visit the FLUMC website at the link here:
- SPRC Teams / HR for Local Church Staff
- Board of Trustees
- Child & Youth Protection Policy
- FL United Methodist Children's Home Local Church Rep
- Lay Leader & Lay Member to Annual Conference
There will be a basic Lay Servant Ministry Course offered at First United Methodist Church - Pahokee on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30, 2022. For details and to register please click here.
Hurricane season will soon be here and this is a great time to review or develop your church's Disaster Recovery Plan. The Florida Conference has provided a Local Church Disaster Plan template for use at your church. Click here for the Local Church Disaster Plan template.
If your church has a written Disaster Recovery Plan, please email us a copy of the plan.
If your church needs to develop a Disaster Recovery Plan, please submit the written plan to our office by June 1, 2022.
Please contact us with any questions.
To learn more about the Disaster Recovery Ministry of the Florida Annual Conference, click here.
It's that time of year when the district offices accept nominations for District at-Large Lay Members to Annual Conference. If you would like to serve in this capacity, please contact your local church pastor and request that you be nominated to serve. Being nominated does not guarantee approval. Approved nominees will be responsible for all costs associated with serving and will not be reimbursed by the district.
If you have any questions about serving, please contact our office.