Making Disciples – Let the Church Arise!

You Are Beloved“Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs.”  (2012 Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church)

The mission of the United Methodist Church is: “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” The current mission statement of Sand Springs United Methodist Church is: “Through God’s grace our church will grow in service and ministry, making and nurturing disciples for Jesus Christ.” It is clear that our denomination and our local church is most concerned about discipleship and what that really means in terms of discerning God’s will and following Jesus’ example.

At our Town Hall meeting this past Sunday I talked about ARISE! This is an all-church initiative to help us re-focus on God’s mission for this local church. We will begin our preparation for this process during the next Church Council meeting at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 21. As always, everyone is welcome to attend our Church Council meetings and I want to personally invite you to come that day to hear more about ARISE and how you might be able to help us.

On Sunday, October 12th, we will devote the entire day to ARISE! We will begin the day at 9:30 a.m. with a presentation by Mike Wiley from the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation. At 10:30 a.m. we will celebrate worship in a blended service for the whole church. After this worship celebration we will gather for a pot luck lunch in Fellowship Hall. Following lunch, we will re-convene in the sanctuary to continue our workshop. We will adjourn no later than 3:00 p.m.

It is important that we have as much participation as possible from the congregation. We will be talking about and planning for things that affect the whole church and how we will do ministry into the future. We want you to be part of the conversation. However, we realize that not everyone is able to devote 5 ours on a Sunday to this process. We understand that and want to encourage you to come for as much of the day as you possibly can. It may seem like a lot to ask, but we are giving up one day to plan for the future of God’s mission and ministry through our church; we cannot leave this to chance and we need to make a significant commitment to the process. Please prayerfully consider how you may be able to be part of this important day.

Here is some more information about ARISE! Many of our local churches are constantly seeking to raise more money and attract younger families. ARISE will get our leaders and members thinking, talking, and praying about the future. There are too many churches struggling weekly to make ends meet, reach their communities, and turn the declining trends around to be a sustainable congregation for our children and grandchildren. ARISE will help churches re-discover their mission and what God has called us to do. ARISE is easy to understand, contains step-by-step homework and follow-up consultation. We believe these things set ARISE apart from other church “programs” we may have tried in the past. This process has been developed by our Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation staff as part of their ongoing effort to help the local church be successful in disciple-making. This is not a stewardship seminar and it is not about money; this workshop is about prayer, purpose, and people.

We are standing at a crossroad right now. Over the past several years this church has prayed continuously and worked diligently to plan and provide for the future of the church. These efforts are beginning to blossom and bear fruit. It is time for us to nurture this fruit and move ahead to become all that God intends for us to become. We cannot do it alone and we are blessed to have the resources of the Annual Conference to help us. Please join us for this important time together on October 12th.

Our Town Hall meeting on September 7th was a great success. I hope you were among those who were able to join us. We talked about ARISE and we also heard reports from Staff Parish Relations Committee, Board of Trustees, and Finance. These reports brought us up-to-date on what has been going on since our last Town Hall meeting in May. We had a time of question and answer that touched on such topics as upcoming leadership nominations, the possible sale of the Main Campus property, legacy gifts and estate planning, and the development of our endowment fund. If you have any question about anything that was discussed at the Town Hall, please feel free to contact me or one of the other church leaders for further information. We plan to continue the Town Hall meetings 3-4 times each year and hope that you will be able to join us and stay in touch with what is happening in your local church.

Have a blessed week!
Pastor Don