Making Disciples of Jesus Christ: A WIG Report ©

Our core mission is as basic as it is biblically grounded. It comes straight from the Risen Lord. 
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) 
It is our WIG; our towering Wildly Important Goal. It doesn’t start with a statistic. It starts with a story; the story of Christ through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit has transformed a life.
A couple of years ago, I stopped in unannounced for worship at Mart UMC. I sat on the back row next to a young (early 20s) woman. At the close of the service, Pastor Amy Anderson gave an invitation for someone to profess faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior and join the church. To my surprise, the young women went forward and publicly proclaimed Jesus as her Lord. Just this week, Leah Hidde-Gregory, Central District Superintendent, sent me the following WIG narrative.
You remember the young girl [Paige] that sit next to you at Mart, that came forward professed her faith and joined the church the Sunday you were there?  Amy wanted me to let you know that Paige is now leading a women’s small group at Mart with 28 women under the age of 40. [She] Feels God calling her to do more ministry with her life. Not sure what that looks like yet, but this is her first step.  The Holy Spirit is moving in our midst!"
Leah went on to comment, “pushing Christ at the Center… developing leaders, and pushing our efforts to the local church… individual lives (like Paige’s) are being changed. We get so caught up in the 50,000-foot view, we miss what is actually occurring sometimes.”  How true!
Brad Brittain, DS for the South District, passed on the following narrative story: “Members from FUMC Moody and Moody Leon have teamed up to offer a full Wednesday evening ministry to the youth of the area. The evening includes a full meal, recreation, Bible study, and worship. There are 70 to 80 kids who participate each Wednesday evening in the newly opened Family Life Center at First Moody. Many of the youth have made professions of faith and have been baptized over the past two years.”
Louis Carr, the North District Superintendent, reports that “First Joshua started a backpack ministry for children in the area that contained food because kids were going home hungry. The 'Backpack4Kids' ministry was recognized by the Chamber of Commerce. Then, local donors saw how well they were doing with the ministry that they banned together and bought the church a food trailer to further meet the needs of the kids.”  Mission really is on outgrowth of a WIG emphasis!
East District Superintendent Randy Wild passed on the following story from Pastor Brady Johnston at Midlothian. “LuAnn has been attending our new faith community at Midtowne Assisted Living Center ever since its inception. Every Sunday afternoon, she eagerly waits for our leaders to arrive. She said that she is encouraged by the worship time and the personal prayers our members share with her each week. Though she had been a member of another denomination most of her life, she felt compelled to 'join with the Methodists.'  She became an official member of our church this past Sunday, October 27th.
How about this WIG narrative which comes from Mike Ramsdell, New Church Start DS. “First Methodist Church Hurst just recently began two new faith communities. One of our goals is to 'Reach People we are not already Reaching.' One of those NFCs is a French and Lingala community, the other a Sudanese and Arabic community, truly people we were not reaching before; the great commission in concrete form.”
A slide which was shared at the most recent Conference CORE Team meeting and at CFA (Council of Finance and Administration) provides a snapshot summary of how the WIG continues to help fuel growth in our conference.
Jeff Roper, Executive Director of Leadership and Administration provided the following summary of how we were progressing against our WIG metric goals of increasing Average Worship Attendance and Professions of Faith.
Worship attendance
  • Overall growth for the 12 months ended September was 1.5%. Growth at churches receiving New Faith Community grants was 1.7%.
  • 48% of all churches showed growth, down just slightly from the 51% reported last month. Of the 39 churches receiving New Faith Community grants, 27 of the churches are showing worship attendance growth – an amazing 69%!  (Note that some churches have received more than one NFC grant, so the number of grants is higher than 39.)
  • The North and West districts have already hit their average worship attendance goal for 2019, and the South district is very close.
  • The Central district is leading the way with 38 churches growing.
Professions of Faith
  • We are at 75% of our goal for the year with 75% of the year complete.
  • The South district is leading at 87% of goal, with the North district right behind at 86%.
  • The Central District is leading again with 26 churches showing PoF increases.
 Truly the Holy Spirit is active in our midst!  I give thanks to God for your faithfulness in making disciples of Jesus Christ!  The Lord bless and keep you!