On the Way – Journeys in the Wilderness

The original identification of Christ followers was not the label “Christian.”  They were called followers of the Way.  By that, they meant they were following the way of Christ in faithful discipleship. As we met for the first Cabinet meeting of the year, stories of faithfulness and fruitfulness abound.  They are the “narratives” that go with the vital signs of which we have been talking.  Together at Cabinet we spent a great time celebrating progress which has come out of the Exodus Project.  In these narratives we encounter movements of the Holy Spirit that are taking place in our common ministry throughout the Conference. Truly God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit is at work within us and through us. Consider this sampling:
  • St. Barnabas is engaged in an awesome outreach medical clinic to those in need and has started a new contemporary worship called The Encounter with 145 people present on Saturday night
  • 1st Salado is engaged in hands-on ministry not only in the community, but in Africa & Haiti as well;  worship attendance is increasing with a sense of being electric & alive
  • 1st Graham started a ministry of feeding children (and their parents) who are on subsidized lunches during the summer; their children’s ministry is experiencing great growth
  • 1st Brownwood is reaching out to students at  Howard Payne University in creative ways
  • Cross Plains had a “camo” worship reaching out to hunters and is deeply excited as they start HCI (Healthy Church Initiative)
  • Morgan Mill/Bluff Dale – built a new parsonage, received 4 new members on professions of faith,  took 32 on a mission trips - 9 to Haiti, and is engaging in a great disaster response ministry
  • Meier Settlement has taken over the closed Riesel church to use for community & school activities. They sent over 1,000 Christmas boxes out to those in need with widespread community support
  • 1st Waco is engaged in a host of ways including Life Church (a predominantly Hispanic new church start), leading Speegleville as a mission outpost, and Church Under the Bridge for the homeless
  • Austin Avenue has welcomed ARC disabled folks from McClennon County, an outreach for those who are challenged
  • The Ghanaian UMC held its first 1st Sunday worship in the old Aldersgate facility with 128 people present; the service started at 10:40 and ended about 1:30. Excitement and amazing singing abounded
  • Eastland has bought a building and started a city-wide youth program reaching out to those who do not know Christ or have no church home
  • 1st Hurst is engaged in 30 small groups studying Unbinding the Gospel, which will be a church-wide emphasis of sharing faith
  • 1st Fort Worth is engaged in a tremendous children’s ministry reaching out to the whole community
  • Bethesda has built a home from the ground up for a community member in dire need, living Matthew 25; they are engaged in one-on-one discipleship and mentoring of laity.
  • Acton is experiencing a rebirth of ministry at Rancho Brazos, is embracing deepening  discipleship, and seen an exponential increase in worship numbers
The promise of Jeremiah of a “future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11) is unfolding!