This last weekend I shared a brief mid-year state of the church report as well as some other important updates as we move into our Fall season. Today’s post is a brief synopsis for those who may have missed that message.
Go and change the world, one life at a time.”
This is the mission of the church.
It’s nothing new, but it is instead the instructions we find Jesus sharing with his original disciples at the end of Matthew’s Gospel. These are the words that have defined the work of the church in each subsequent generation.
We stand in the line of the great women and men who have given their lives to the fulfillment of this dream; world change that is experienced with each life transformation.
The two major components I shared began with a mid-year report of 2016.
I simplified that report into four numbers that speak to what has happened in the first eight months of 2016 in our life together.
The first number is 10%.
10% is the increase that we have seen in our weekend worship attendance.
That means that over the course of this year we have added more than 200 individuals to our average weekend attendance.
When you consider that the average United Methodist Church in America today worships less than 200 in total attendance, it gives you another perspective on the significance of the growth we have experienced in this area.
The second number is 101.
It has nothing to do with Dalmatians, but that may help you remember this second number.
101 is the number of new small groups we have launched in our church family in this year. During our super series this last spring, we had 163 small groups meetings with over 1500 people participating in that six week study together.
The third number is 3100.
3100 is the number of people who have participated in at least one serving opportunity in 2016. This number represents more than half of what we would consider to be the total number of individuals who are regular participants in our worshipping community. That percentage speaks to what is embedded in the DNA of our faith family – Loving God should naturally lead to loving and serving others.
The fourth number is 8.9%
8.9% is the increase in our financial generosity to the mission and ministry that we share. I saved this number for last because it illustrates how these other three areas of growth have come to pass. This success belongs to all of us because our shared sacrifice is what determines our capacity.
Generosity releases God’s dreams and these four numbers together testify to that truth.
The second major component of last weekend’s message was a focus on a “level” of the church that most us never think about.
The reason for that is that most of us rarely think about the life of the church outside of how we regularly connect and participate in the life of the church.
Each weekend we welcome four distinct and incredible worship communities.
Rather than going through each of them here, I would direct you to this page on our website which gives you a description of each of those communities.
The importance of understanding this level of our church is that it identifies the strength of our church. It is not the result of one of these individual communities but rather our church’s willingness to provide multiple communities where individuals can connect with our faith family under one banner.
That banner is Jesus.
That banner is Making Disciples of Jesus Christ who will love God, love others and serve the world.
That banner is “go and change the world, one life at a time.”
To truly understand who we are and where we are going, you have to understand what is unique and special about First Methodist Mansfield.
We are multiple worshipping communities with Christ at the center.
That’s the great strength and the unique value that our church offers to the community that we serve. It is the vision that has brought us to where we are today and the vision we intend to follow in the future as the one we believe God has called us to pursue.
And on that note, I shared one more thing last weekend which is the new way we tend to visually express our unique story to the community we seek to serve, to bless and to reach for Jesus.
The imagery below is our way of telling the story of multiple worshipping communities with Christ at the center.
The inspiration for what you see above is the pattern that find repeated in the beautiful windows that fill our worship space.
We believe stained glass is a great expression of who we are in that in not only highlights our diverse opportunities but also the incredible beauty that is revealed when we all gather underneath the banner that is the love and grace of God revealed to us in his Son, Jesus.
God is not done doing amazing things through the ministry of First Methodist Mansfield.
I hope you feel the great honor and responsibility that is ours to continue to do for others what others have done for you.
May God bless us with an even deeper sense of passion and determination to do our part.
“Go and change the world, one life at a time!”