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"We Need More Water"& Pie With the Pastor ©

Our Wildly Important Goal as a Conference (what we call the -  WIG) is the very mission of the church – “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. It leaps off the page of Holy Scripture as the closing paragraph of the Gospel of Matthew (28:16-20). In church, we speak the command by the risen Christ to the apostles referred to as "The Great Commission.” We assess our accomplishment of the WIG in two key ways. The first is what we call the “narrative.” Narratives are the stories of life transformation under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The narratives - or stories of transformation - as a disciple of Christ precede our second key assessment. The second assessment involves the metrics of average worship attendance (according to John Wesley worship is the first and most basic act of Christian discipleship) and professions of faith (public acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior). This week, in our Cabinet meeting, we took some special time to share with each other stories (narratives) of the WIG. As a Cabinet we found them inspiring. I want to pass them on. God in Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit is active in our life! Here are those narratives as shared by the CTC Cabinet... Iglesia Jeme is the Hispanic congregation at FUMC Corsicana. During clergy conversations, Dr. Leah Hidde-Gregory asked Rev. Martin Orozco what she could do for his ministry. He said, “I need more water.” She inquired more about what he meant. He told her that he was now a Licensed Local Pastor and that he had several people who had professed their faith in Christ for the first time and were needing to be baptized. These folks all wanted to be immersed. He said, “I need more water to baptize them.”  By the end of the day, the folks at FUMC Corsicana had made arrangements for a horse trough to be brought in,  something which may become part of their garden area for future use. Iglesia Jeme expanded to a second worship service this past weekend. Between the two services, 174 people worshiped in these Spanish services.  ( from Dr. Leah S. Hidde-Gregory, Central District Superintendent) On a recent Sunday, I visited 2 different churches in the same community. Knowing the non-cooperative history between the 2 congregations, I was thrilled when the lay leaders from each congregation shared with me their intent to combine their lay outreach to the surrounding area, driven by the Conference focus on the WIG. (Mike Ford, Conference Lay Leader) Update on Fisherman’s Chapel “Motorcycle Ministry New Faith Community": We had a successful event. Jim Kitchens rode up from Brady to join us. We collected a lot of socks and clothing items for the Homeless Ministry at New Beginnings Church in Brownwood. We then rode to the cross at Ballinger where we had a short message and great fellowship. There were four bikes and 5 people. Next, was a steak lunch and home for the day. God is good, we all were blessed with great weather and fun times. - see photo left  (Billy Murphey, Pastor Fisherman's Chapel UMC; passed on by Lisa Neslony, West District Superintendent) Leah told me that the churches who are starting new faith communities “can’t spend the money as fast as it is coming in.” Mart UMC has still not spent the New Faith Community grant money because the new people coming to the church, along with the current members, are giving more money. (Jeff Roper, Executive Director, Roberts Center for Leadership & Administration) In a worship service on Sunday, September 29 at a Bingo Hall in Lake Worth, Texas a new faith community called “Free Space,” baptized six persons and had three professions of faith. This new faith community is an extension of the Lighthouse Fellowship new faith community in partnership with the owner of a bingo hall where services are held weekly. One of those baptized was the husband of the owner of the bingo hall who had been praying that her husband would accept Christ. Her prayers created a path for the prayer group and this new faith community. What a difference the prayers of a devout follower of Christ can make as the church seeks to risk its mission to those who long for it most!! (Travis Franklin, North District Superintendent) In Coleman, Rev. Paul Judd, pastor of FUMC, hosts Pie with the Pastor at a local restaurant. Each week, he advertises what time he'll be there and what is the pie of the day. Both members and non-members show up to meet with Paul and talk about issues of faith. (Dr. Lisa Neslony, West District Superintendent) Colleyville introduced Neighborhood Table, a monthly event to connect the congregation with the needs of the community. Mercy House Ministries, a community ministry aiding single pregnant women who need support was the most recent recipient of new volunteers, a thousand-dollar vocational scholarship for one of the residents, hundreds of packages of diapers that filled the room and financial support for Mercy House. (Rev. Ben Disney, East District Superintendent) Teon Bass is the pastor at Mt. Zion UMC in Belton. One of Teon’s hobbies is playing pickleball. Teon plays pickleball with a group in the Harker Heights area, and has enjoyed developing new friendships through pickleball. Last week he invited his friends from pickleball to attend church at Mt. Zion. One of the couples he invited showed up at the church service the following Sunday!  (Brad Brittain, South District Superintendent) In Hico, FUMC has grown from an average attendance of 93 in 2017 to 104 so far in 2018. Rev. Don Moore also has recently baptized three children and one adult, who asked to be baptized in the Brazos River, which runs through the city park - see photo right. (Lisa Neslony, West District Superintendent) Grapevine FUMC introduced The Porch, an innovative worship experience that blends contemporary worship with a casual atmosphere and a class-style, conversational message. First envisioned as a podcast, the Porch service has quickly become a popular destination for both the churched and unchurched in the Grapevine community. Increase of 4% in average weekly worship attendance. (Rev. Ben Disney, East District Superintendent) In Mineral Wells, FUMC has adopted an exciting Master Plan that includes a creative funding plan to upgrade building issues and staff. Rev. Eric Douglas also envisions a united, strong Methodist presence across Palo Pinto County and has begun conversations to that end. (Lisa Neslony, West District Superintendent) First Waxahachie- Intentional community outreach including Worship Outside the Walls. Refocusing on the mission to make disciples 14% increase in average worship attendance from the same period last year. (Rev. Ben Disney, East District Superintendent) Smithfield UMC Weekend Food ministry serving children and families at Smithfield Elementary, Jack C. Binion Elementary, Richland Hills and North Richland Hills schools. Creating a culture of high expectations linking service to the community and deep discipleship. (Rev. Ben Disney, East District Superintendent) God in Christ through the Holy Spirit is moving in our midst!  Thanks be to God!