In the church, we always proceed with confidence in the Lord! At Shalimar United Methodist Church, we are the Lord’s Church and His perfect plans are at work in ways we can and will see. Now that we have come to the mid-year point in 2019, what are some of the highlights of the first six months? What is just ahead? Let me share with you some of my highlights and hopes!
The first six months of 2019 have brought abundant blessings. As I observe and listen to our congregation, here are some of the distinctive ways I feel we have been blessed.
SUMC is making strides in our primary mission of making disciples. We have taken some extra steps in 2019 and it is all having an impact on people for Jesus. Our campus is vibrant every day with the sights and sounds of people of all ages feeling the benefits of the SUMC ministry. One of the greatest impacts thus far is how we have stepped up to make disciples. Below are some of the ways Shalimar UMC has made disciples this year.
- We began the year with 21 days of worship, prayer, and fasting at 6:00am. Those 21 days reignited the spiritual growth of many moving into 2019. This was our second year, and amazingly we had more participation than last year. We were also blessed by those in our community who joined in. In this journey of 21 days, many throughout our congregation and community began the New Year growing as a disciple first thing each morning.
- On March 6th, we began a 40-day journey of studying the Gospel of Mark each day at 6:00am. During this Lenten Church Bible Study, we opened the Sanctuary before daylight for Bible Study. We were blessed by this journey in both bible study and in preaching through the Gospel of Mark for Lent. Discipleship happened every day in our Sanctuary. When you combine the 21 days and 40 days of Lent together you get 57 days where we formed disciples at the first light of day. How incredible for our church!
- In February, a new 12x12 team was formed with excited persons from our congregation. Several of them had not been in a discipleship group before. This team is meeting now and deepening their discipleship while also dreaming of ways to impact others for Jesus. Growing asdisciples and plans to make disciples is happening through 12x12.
- Our children’s ministry under Jennifer Guidoni’s leadership has made a dramatic impact on discipleship this year! We see the number of kids booming and now the volunteers are beginning to say “YES” to children’s ministry. Children are professing their faith in Jesus. Thanks be to God! We enjoyed a great VBS with over 300 kids and had wonderful volunteers. We celebrate the positive direction our children’s ministry is heading! Children are being taught to be disciples.
- Our After School Care and Summer Camp are thriving under the leadership of Dawn Rozofsky. Every day our campus is filled with the sights, sounds, and happiness of children. In some ways, it seems like Vacation Bible School is here all Summer long. Our campus is alive every day with the sounds of children. Shalimar UMC has dramatically increased the impact to the number of children this year.
- Our student ministry under David Garvin’s leadership has also grown in impact over the past year. Our youth program has made positive strides. The participation and spiritual focus is leading our students to Jesus. While I am writing this, they are away for their annual Oakwood retreat at Blue Lake. We look forward to the excitement the rest of the year 2019 will bring. We rejoice as our students learn about Jesus!
- One of the most exciting things happening at Shalimar UMC now is the development of the Discipleship Roadmap. The vision of the roadmap is to help everyone determine their next step of growth as a disciple and is being prepared by a team of lay and staff to be launched soon. Our sermon series this summer will coordinate with this team in preparation for an upcoming roadmap. Our mission for the roadmap is to invite everyone to make the step in their discipleship journey.
In addition to the positive disciple movement in our church, we are moving up in others ways and all reasons to give thanks to God!
- We have been blessed through our weekly worship and special services thus far this year. Ash Wednesday, Easter worship, Great Day of Service, and Patriotic Service were all very inspiring.
- Our church has been blessed this year by your generous giving to the Lord! Thank you. Our first six months of giving is a record year thus far for Shalimar UMC. This is even more amazing when you consider we navigated through the concerns of General Conference in February and some trying times with our Master Planning vote. Let us give thanks through it all. Our congregation continues to give to the Lord and make exciting ministry possible!
- In May, we received good news that the Haverty’s lease was extended. This was especially good news as it allows additional time to focus on matters like the addition of Cross Corner. Even though we placed the Master Plan on pause, Shalimar UMC continues to be blessed as a church with good future options. Following the Master plan vote, let’s not lose sight of God’s blessings. God is able to do more than we think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We only need to stay humble and work to-gether to be the Church God wants us to be and all will be well. The fu-ture is bright for Shalimar UMC.
As I write this mid-year word, I want to thank our lay leadership for outstanding leadership this year. We have had some highs and lows and you have been dedicated and worked tirelessly for what is best for our church and I thank you! We have great lay leadership!
I also want to thank our staff. You have worked long hours and the work has been demanding. It is all appreciated. We have a great staff! Thank you!
We move into the second half of the year with great opportunities. One of the things we will be working on is strengthening our weekly worship op-portunities. This will be one of our top priorities for the second half of 2019. The building up of our worshiping community along with intentional discipleship making will be our two biggest priorities for the rest of the year! More to come on how this will happen!
In closing, our confidence as a Church is in the Lord and not in our own plans. Let us go forward the next six months to be all that God is calling us to become!