Just a reminder of all the special things happening this Sunday.
First, both worship services (9 and 11) will happen in the main Sanctuary this coming Sunday so that our entire church may have an opportunity to experience the Christmas Cantata. For just this one Sunday, there is no contemporary worship service in the MAC. Regardless of your preferred worship style, it seems most folks really appreciate the opportunity to experience the Christmas Cantata. This is a great opportunity to bring a friend to worship with you - have a little fun with it - tell them it's that one day where the pastor does not preach! I will do anything to lead people to Christ - even if that means being quiet once in a while!
Second, our Children's Christmas play happens at 6 pm Sunday night in the MAC. I encourage EVERYONE to come out in support of our growing Children's ministry. They have worked so hard to be prepared for Sunday night. Come affirm all their good work by simply being in the audience experiencing this heart warming expression of Christmas. Come be touched with renewed hope as our Children's ministry brings us even closer to the heart of Christmas. There will be a dessert fellowship after in the Fellowship Hall - everyone is invited and welcome!
Help us welcome Holly Viccaro into our faith family. She united with us at the 11 am service on Sunday! Her mailing address is 1546 Spring Cove Rd, Blairsville, GA 30512.
Transition from Two to Three Worship Services,March 2, 2014
The “Three Worship Service” task force commissioned by Church Council September 4 made their final recommendations to Church Council on December 3. Those recommendations were approved by Council in that meeting. The plan calls for multiple meetings with the affected groups through January and February to help everyone fully understand their choices and flexibility as they navigate for themselves this new Sunday morning configuration. The worship service configuration will be as it was presented from the pulpit at both worship services several months ago; specifically, an 8:30 am casual traditional service in the Sanctuary, a 9:45 am contemporary service in the MAC and an 11 am traditional service in the Sanctuary. Our Senior Pastor will deliver the sermon at all three services in that configuration. The detailed recommendation report is at the end of this issue.
The goal is to position us to better reach our mission field and grow the Kingdom through the greater Blairsville community. We chose “Transfiguration Sunday” on March 2 - the day we celebrate Jesus being transfigured on top of a mountain - as the implementation date for our new configuration. We plan to offer meetings with all Sunday School leaders (and classes if desired), parents with children, and parents with youth in the new year to help everyone walk gracefully into the new configuration over these next 3 months. Your support, your prayers, and your sensitivity for those who will be making changes to their current Sunday morning routine are greatly appreciated. Some will be adjusting their current schedule so that we may grow the Kingdom – that is sacrificial service at its very best – thanks be to God!
Wednesday Night Live
Ro Robins and the Robinettes are providing "Breakfast for Dinner" this Wednesday as we bring our fall Wednesday Night Nurture to an end until after the holidays. Dinner is from 5 to 6 pm. Pastor Mark will present a brief presentation on the Three Worship Service Task Force recommendations to anyone who wishes to attend at 6 pm and he will be available to answer whatever questions you might have. Come join the conversation. The presentation will be in the Fellowship Hall. We will begin our Adult Bible Study routine again in January. It just seemed to make sense to role the Bible Study on "Self Discipline/ Self Will" to the Wed after all those New Year's Eve resolutions get made!
A Note from Your Missions Team: What a Day!
As you know from last week, the United Methodist Church General Board of Global Missions (GBGM) held its first ever "giving Tuesday" last week to increase online giving on that day in support of any of the United Methodist Global ADVANCE opportunities (includes disasters, world regions, projects, or specific missionaries.) The results were a jaw dropping $6,500,000 given on line in one day. Those dollars were in support of over 880 projects, needs, or missionaries around the globe. This is another example of our connectional system at it's best working for the glory of God.
(This is not a complete list - just immediate prayer needs of just this coming week for the immediate faith family)
- Those not connected to a Church Home - Christmas is often a season of seeking and connection
- Cindy Neely - heart attack last week - had two bypasses - released from hospital.
- Martha Preston - had partial shoulder replacement surgery end of last week - Murphy Hospital
- Lloyd Dunham - knee replacement surgery went well yesterday - Murphy Hospital
- Jamie Rowe - Father in Florida had heart procedure - two stents - doing wellSusan Adams - beloved Aunt passed away
- Mike Thomason - father (James Thomason) is back in the hospital
- Marcia Jones - outpatient lumpectomy scheduled for Friday in Marietta
- Von Staden Family - keep them in your prayers - so many things happening all at once
- B. L. Anderson - upcoming MRI on back December 20
- David Cook - is home (on different antibiotics) recovering from infection in back - getting stronger.
- Our several expecting Mommies - surround all our expecting Mommies as a prayer habit of this church -Jenny Chandler - Jan 3 due date!
- Those fighting active cancer from our faith family: Diane Thomason, Valerie Metcalf, Joyce Kible, Billy Maggio
- Eva Breedlove, Shirley Cobb - backs being treated with epidural shots
A Note from Your Finance Team
Online Giving is now available through our church web site. Folks are signing up and it's working well. Simply go towww.firstmethodistblairsville.com and click on the "Online Giving" button located under the pastor's picture. The confidential process will allow you to sign up to direct deposit funds you define. If you have any questions, contact our Financial Secretary, Deidra Gilbert: email@example.com
We will be receiving an offering during our Christmas Eve services - 100% of what we receive at all three Christmas Eve services will go towards the Blairsville community ministry "Hope House."
God's Unlimited Joy
Through our sacrificial service God will reach people, touch souls, change hearts and launch disciples
Final Recommendations for FUMC Transition from Two Worship Services to Three Worship Services
After several hours of discussion and discernment, it became clear that there are three separate existing areas directly affected by our desire to promote FUMC growth by transitioning from two to three worship services on Sunday morning. Those areas are Adult Bible Study, Children’s Ministry, and Youth Ministry. We evaluated the pro’s and con’s of many configurations. Below is our recommended starting point that we believe best balances our existing Church family needs with an effective strategy for future Kingdom growth at FUMC. For many, this move will be a “non-event.” For some, this move will require a major change in their Sunday morning routine and small group alignment. It is our prayer, that all of us are willing to do what is necessary to reach those not yet here. We recommend the following start-up configuration:
Worship times are 8:30-9:30 am (Sanctuary – Casual Trad.), 9:45-10:45 am (MAC), 11-noon (Sanctuary Trad.)
Infant/toddler nursery is provided continuously from 8:30 am to noon - no change
The primary Adult Sunday School time becomes 9:45-10:45 am
Adult Sunday School classes have complete autonomy to choose other meeting times (ie., 8:30 or 11)
Children’s Ministry begins at 9:30 am – there will be people here to receive children at end of 8:30 worship
All Children’s Classrooms (PS, K-2, 3-4, Tweens) are fully staffed by 9:45 am - primary SS hour is 10 to 10:45
Children’s Church happens after 11 am Children’s Moment just like it always has – no change
The primary Youth Sunday School time happens from 11am to noon (SAC possibility)
Major Movements this Configuration Covers
- Adults without kids can choose to worship at 8:30 Trad or 11 Trad and attend middle hour SS
- Adults with children can worship at 9:45 and have a place for their children (worship and/or SS)
- Adults with children can worship at 8:30 and after attend SS with a place for their children
- Adults with children can attend 9:45 SS and worship at 11 with a place for their children throughout
- Adults with youth can worship together at 9:45 and be in respective SS’s at 11
- Adults with youth can come at same time at 9:45 – parents in SS, youth in Worship, then flip flop at 11
- Parents with children AND youth can worship together at 9:45 and go separate ways after (need 11 am SS)
Successful change needs time – it cannot be rushed. If these recommendations are supported by Church Council, we believe the best target date should be “Transfiguration Sunday” which lands on March 2, 2014. On that Sunday we encounter Jesus being “transfigured” on top of the mountain of God. We think that Sunday would be a good Sunday for Jesus’ Church in the Mountains to be transfigured too! With that date in mind, we need not engage this conversation during Christmas. In January, we will schedule our process meetings with those impacted by the change. In February, we will raise congregational awareness from the pulpit. On March 2, we “transfigure.” This approach gives us the 40 days of Lent to work the kinks out so that we have a smooth process in place for our next “big day” – Easter Sunday – when we use our Easter outreach mailers to tell our community about our new configuration. That gives us the Easter spring board boost to sustain and grow our new configuration into the summer/fall cycle. We believe this timing gives us the greatest chance of success.
There are three parts to the process of rolling this out; specifically, preparation phase, start-up phase, and refinement phase.
Preparation Phase: In January / February, the pastor and Adult Education Coordinator will set up a meeting to meet with all Sunday School leaders to help them walk through the process of discerning for themselves how they wish to configure on Sunday morning – we are leaving that final decisions in the hands of each Adult Sunday School class. What we will do is give them the necessary information so they can all go back to their individual classes and facilitate a conversation on how their class will adjust to the new worship times. In February, the pastor will raise awareness and reiterate the goal from the pulpit to the congregation in worship.
Also in January / February, the pastor and Youth Director will hold a meeting with parents of youth (youth are invited) to discuss the change and explain the various options in the new configuration.
Also in January / February, the pastor and Children’s Director will hold a meeting with parents of children to discuss the change and explain the various options in the new configuration.
Start-Up Phase: The new configuration happens for the first time on Sunday, March 2nd. We begin with the changes listed in the above diagram – knowing that some other pieces will need to be added with time as demand and resources allow.
Refinement Phase: After seeing where people land, Church Council needs to monitor closely what needs arise and work towards adding the most necessary “next steps” to facilitate growing the kingdom. We anticipate two or three needs in the refinement phase. First, we hope we will need to add a new Adult Sunday School Class in the 11 to noon time slot to provide a place for adults who wish to worship in the 9:45 to 10:45 service. Perhaps this class can be formed immediately from existing classes that are impacted in the change. Secondly, we envision the need for a Youth/Family Sunday School class in the 9:45-10:45 time slot to facilitate families that are more traditional in nature – who want to be in Sunday School at the same time and all worship together at 11 am. Right now we think it is critical to have our Director of Youth worship in the contemporary service with the goal of leading Youth into that worship (a difficult thing in 21rst Century USA.) Thirdly, we will need to see and react to whatever Children’s needs we have at 8:30. The start-up configuration assumes they will just be in worship the whole time. Again, we need to see how many (if any) come as we grow.