Fall is typically a season for harvesting. Of course, today, in the RGV, it’s going to be 102 degrees outside and not one of us is going to take a deep breath of crisp, cool, air and think, ‘ah, Autumn is upon us.’ I think for us, EFUMC, the Fall is a time for us to nurture growth. It’ a time for us to press in to the work God is doing in our church and in our community.
We are seeing God do good things, really good things! Since July, when we changed the worship schedule and moved to 2 services, we have actually seen an increase in attendance. The Crossroads service, (9 am) typically has 35-40 people in worship each week. This is comparable to our regular Fall attendance of both the 8:15am /9:45am services combined. New people are joining, new people are coming to the MeetUp and finding their way into community. Summer Sunday School participation is at an all-time high. We are seeing families who have not been in a while returning. These are excellent places of growth.
Wine and the Word Women’s Ministry had an amazing first meeting with more than 20 women present and more than 25 registered who will participate in the course of the 6 week study. Already, there is talk of a Women’s Retreat in the Spring. In late September, Wednesday evening Dinner and Discipleship will return and run concurrently with Acolyte training for our children.
One area that we must be intentional about nurturing growth is with our children and youth. These are 2 of the most important ministry areas of any/every church and yet also the difficult to navigate. When new families are looking for a church their first question is, “what do you have for my children?” When you are a church with a small children/youth program that can be a difficult question to answer. Every opportunity is being made for the children and youth of our community to get connected. There is now intentional and excellent programming in the nursery on Sunday mornings as well as Children’s Sunday School. Starting September 9thYouth Sunday School start being taught by parents, grandparents, and elders of the church. Weekly Youth gatherings are currently Sunday night from 5pm – 6:30pm. The thing about children and youth ministries is that parents have to bring them. Parents have to help decide and set that priority in the spiritual growth of their children. One thing I learned as a Children’s Pastor is that best, most effective way to love a child is to love and encourage their parents well. So, we are starting a Sunday School class for parents starting Sept. 16. Bring your kids to Sunday School, stay for Sunday School yourself. We are hoping to start an evening Parent’s Group that will meet Sunday evenings while children are at youth or Children’s Choir.
I want to take this opportunity to commend our Rising (Young Adult Ministry). Since the transition between the retirement of our former youth director and now, these 6 – 8 young adults have shown up every Sunday ready to love, lead, teach, and bless our youth. All of them are 18 years or older and more than half of them have completed certification/in process of being certified under the Rio Texas Safe Gatherings Safety Policies. This particular ministry of the church blesses and encourages my heart. Prior to stepping forward to help fill the gap while we search for the right person to lead our youth ministry long term, these young adults gathered every week at the parsonage for bible study and fellowship. Every one of them is in worship EVERY week. Every one of them serves the church in multiple capacities – praise band, food pantry, audio/visuals, and where ever the church asks them to serve. Each of them (that are employed) give and work toward tithing. They are the best possible example for our youth and children. They are the best possible examples to any of us.
Many good seeds have been planted. Much good work is being done. I urge you to prayerfully consider how you will nurture these seeds and participate in this season of growing.