Saturday, May 16, 2009

5 Plus 2 Equals 5000

It is mid-May. Not only is the sun shining, the grass is greening, and the flowers are ready to be planted outside (well, almost – frost warnings are still on for tonight), but it is now only 4 months to Launch for New Day UMC. Starting the week of Sept. 12-13, we will have regular, weekly worship services, followed shortly thereafter with regular programs for children, youth, and adults. It is exciting, and yet overwhelming, to realize this. Thank the Lord our Launch Team has developed to the point of tackling more on their own; I have faith we will accomplish many of the items on our Pre-Launch To Do List. (If there are any others out there who could lend a hand, please let us know – we need you!)

But right now, the challenge which is just as big as getting projects done is raising the money to fund the projects which need to be done. For the most part, these are projects which coaches and church-planting experts have taught us need to be in place in order to make a solid first impression when people come to check us out those first launch months. With many people, you only get one chance, and first-time guests, we are told, often make up their minds if they are coming back again within the first 7 minutes after arriving. If that is true, what needs to be “ready”? Well, consider these...

SIGNAGE: along roads pointing the way ($500 - $2500), out front of the building ($400), above the door ($3000), on the door itself ($500), and inside the entry ($50-250)... TOTAL ~ $5,500

GATHERING SPACE: living-room style furniture ($2500 - $3000), computerized guest registration station ($2000), flat-screen announcement monitor ($1200)... TOTAL ~$6000

CHILDCARE AREA: rolling toy shelves ($2100), age-appropriate toys ($400), closet organizers ($300), tables and chairs ($3,500) TOTAL ~ $6300

WORSHIP AREA: projection equipment, sound systems, band instruments, microphones, etc. etc. etc. TOTAL ~$12,000 - $24,000

OK, you get the idea. Long before I stand up to share a life-giving God message, our guests have decided to return or not based on appearance, environment, and how well we have satisfied their family’s needs to this point. We get it. The frustrating part is knowing what needs to be done, but not having the money in-hand to get it done. We will obviously need to prioritize and make do with whatever we have at that moment.

Nonetheless, it’s like looking forward with sails hoisted, ready to catch the wind of the Holy Spirit, while an anchor temporarily keeps the ship locked in place.

Perhaps I am simply another product of our instant gratification society. Perhaps my worrying about tomorrow should be replaced simply with prayers of thanksgiving for today. Perhaps all of this is simply another exercise in faith, in relying on God to work through the hearts and minds of others to collectively achieve what I am unable to accomplish on my own. Perhaps I am like the disciples who looked out on a crowd of hungry people (over 5,000 to be exact), and felt overwhelmed by the expectation to feed them all with so little in the treasury. Perhaps I should simply trust Jesus, who takes the smallest of offerings from the least among us, and satisfies the needs of all.

Sigh. All right, Lord. I turn all of this over to you.

Is there anyone out there willing to share your 5 loaves and 2 fish with the thousands of spiritually hungry folk here in Big Lake? If so, I believe Jesus will make it an abundant blessing for many. Thanks for sharing!

[Contributions to the ministry of New Day UMC can be made by contacting Pastor Jim via their website or by simply leaving a message under “Comments” below]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day Blessings

Although chilly, the sun is shining and God's love is abounding! I sincerely hope that all the moms are having a blessed day, knowing the abundant love you have for your children is just a sliver of the love God has for us all. Amazing Grace, Amazing Love - WOW!

New Day's 2nd Preview Service this morning was uplifting, joyful, full of spirit, fun and meaning! Rejoice and Praise! It seemed that the small (35) but significant congregation were touched by God; and Jim and I certainly felt the humble joy of sharing just a bit of His grace today. It was a one-man band, as Jim lead praise songs on his guitar; other music came from CD's. The borrowed projector and screen worked perfectly and the untrained amateur running it, (me!) managed to get most of the slides up when needed! Jim had the congregation create a bouquet of "tributes to mom" - each person was given a carnation when they arrived and then were asked to come forward and share a sentence or two about their moms and place the flower in a vase. The words spoken were so wonderful; a precious time of sharing. Jim's message was about doubt (scripture from John about Thomas), and he had interaction with some of the congregation and visual aids that kept everyone engaged. The service ended with communion and the smiles that carried out the door warmed my heart!

I've put pictures on the website ( - many thanks to Karla Vieau for some great shots!

Next worship will be Sunday, June 14, 10:45.

We'll be starting two small group classes in two weeks (Bible Basics and Discovering Your Spirituality Type). Please pray for people to attend and for meaning to be found in these small groups.

The "call" for the grant money to be provided by the United Methodist Metro-West Builders Assoc. was mailed out last week. Please pray for those folks who are receiving the brochure to be generous. To be ready for full launch by September, New Day has some very significant needs which we're praying this "connectional ministry" will help provide.

As always, your support and prayers are such huge blessings to us and this new, young community. Bless you all!

With much love,
Janet :->