Recently I went to a workshop “5 Things Every Church Can Learn From a Fruitful Church Planter” – we actually learned 6 things from Rev. Dave Masland, the Conference Director for New Faith Communities. There were 3 things about which he said “if you have only 1 takeaway from this workshop it should be this…”
Have a strong personal spiritual discipline
Have clarity and focus on our vision
Build and strengthen relationships.
We were also directed to read an article in the current Advocate (our Conference Newsletter) about the Discipleship Plan described at Centerpoint UMC in the Mohawk District. This edition also has a nice write up about ministries at Saratoga UMC as well. I recommend both articles!
The Article on Centerpoint UMC describes the process through which each participant in the congregation is drawn into developing their relationship with God and one another through participation in various aspects of the congregation. While the Centerpoint congregation is larger than our own, the process can be instructional for Alplaus as well. We know that many folks come to Alplaus UMC for a variety of reasons on any given Sunday morning or Tuesday Lunch or Thursday knitting. I do see that it is important to welcome each person who comes through the door for any reason and to draw folks into a genuine relationship of care and concern. I look forward to discussing the article and sharing my understanding from the workshop.
It occurs to me that with the arrival of November we begin the holiday season (Halloween through New Year). This wind-up can become frantic with preparations for the celebrations and happenings: dinners, school events end of year reports parties, shopping, family gatherings - the list is nearly endless. With all of our busy-ness we will also be turning our clocks back at the beginning of the month (11/3 DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ENDS). Darkness will descend upon our lives once more and I find myself dreading this shift more than previous years.
For now, I am delighting in the senses of autumn: the pumpkin spice found in everything, the crunch of crisp leaves on trails as I walk the dog, the smell of a fall rain, and the sight of the red, orange and yellows that still dress the trees. I celebrate the beauty of the now, even as I am acutely aware of how these signs herald the coming darkness of winter. Even now I am anticipating the preparation for the arrival of Christ our Light.