This fall we launched our Imagine campaign and we have about 200 adults along with 50 children and youth enrolled in Financial Peace University (FPU) classes. Based on the teaching of money management guru, Dave Ramsey, participants are learning how to operate from a budget, get out of debt, save for emergencies, plan for college and retirement, buy the right insurance, and give generously. This is the second time I have gone through FPU and have found it extremely helpful both times.
One of the foundational principles of FPU is that we have to take control of our finances. Otherwise, money will become our master and we will be enslaved by it. It is exactly what Jesus was talking about when He said, “No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24 NIV) So, the choice is ours: we can serve money or we can force money to serve us and God’s purposes. One of the ways in which we master our money is through giving. Generosity keeps us from serving money and its unquenchable thirst for more. At the same time, it allows us to serve God, our true Master and Friend, by financially supporting His on-going work in the world.
On Sunday, November 5th, we are asking every member and participant in the life of the Lynn Haven United Methodist Church to take control of their finances and use their God-given resources to serve Christ and His Church. While no one will be forced to do so, everyone will be invited on that day to make a financial commitment toward our 2018 ministry budget. Also, since stewardship includes wise and godly management, not only of our treasures, but also of our time and talents, we want everyone to volunteer for at least one area of service for the coming year as well. In such a way, we fulfill our God-given destiny and become the generous givers He designed us to be. Each of us has been made in God’s image and He is the greatest Giver of all since He gave the supreme gift of His Son Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.
Please plan to join us on November 5th as we “imagine being a cheerful giver.” If, for some reason, you cannot attend worship, please complete the commitment sheet you receive in the mail and return it to the church office or go on-line to www.myLHUMC.net and record your pledge.
I do not have to “imagine” what it is like being the pastor of a generous congregation because I already am. On an almost daily basis, I have a front row seat and witness the faithfulness of our members who freely and gladly give their time, money, and energy to serve God and fulfill our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. Thank you for what you are already doing and imagine all the Lord wants to do in and through this fellowship of believers. Best of all, God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)
To God be the glory,
Craig CarterLead Pastor, LHUMC
The dictionary defines a mentor as “a wise and trusted counselor, or an influential sponsor or supporter.” I have been privileged to have had numerous mentors over the course of my lifetime. They have included coaches, Sunday School teachers, youth group sponsors, senior military officers, small group leaders, and fellow pastors. These persons who have invested their time and energy in me have helped me become who I am today. I can’t imagine who or what I’d be without them (and you probably don’t want to know either!).
Mentors are an indispensable part of the program at New Horizons Learning Center, which is located across from our Fusion Campus. The mentoring program there provides positive role models for special needs and at-risk students in grades 6-12. Mentors offer friendship, guidance and emotional support that prepares the students for adulthood. Joining many others from our congregation, I have served as a mentor at New Horizons for the past three years. It has been a rewarding experience that has been mutually beneficial to my student and to me. I have developed a friendship with a young man who is trying to do the right things and make good decisions. He just needs a little guidance and encouragement along the way. I have also learned a lot from him, including some important lessons in gratitude. Mentors are assigned based on gender and personality. Currently, 10 men and 5 women mentors are needed. Our church has a special relationship with New Horizons and we have been given an “open door” of ministry by their faculty and staff. We want to continue to support their efforts in any way we can, so if you are interested in serving as a mentor, please contact Margaret Tidmore (firstname.lastname@example.org; 850-767-1130). You can also find more information about the New Horizons mentoring program at www.becomeamentor.org.
Recognizing the value of mentors, the Bay District School system has initiated a program called Elevate Bay whose stated purpose is “lifting our kids to new heights.” They have set a goal of having 1000 mentors involved in our county’s elementary schools. Classroom mentors work in small groups for academic and behavioral support for the students involved. One-on-one mentors focus on the specific needs of one particular student over time. Lunch buddies provide the extra support and supervision students need outside the classroom. Since our congregation has an on-going partnership with Southport Elementary, we want to participate fully in the program. Training is provided and the time commitment is one hour at the school, at least every other week. If you are interested in being a Southport mentor, please contact Cindy Hansen (email@example.com). Or, if you’d like to volunteer at a different school, get in touch with the county coordinator, Stacey Legg (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Somebody has rightly said that everyone needs a mentor and needs to be a mentor to someone. If you don’t have a mentor already, I encourage you to find someone to fill that role for you. We can all benefit from a mature follower of Christ who will assist us in our spiritual development. I also pray you will seriously consider being a mentor, either to a new Christian in our church family or to a student in our community. Together, with God’s help, we can truly become the Body of Christ in the world.
In Christ's Name,
God blessed our congregation with an incredible gift in 2012 that we have since operated as the Fusion Fitness Center. It has served the needs of our church and community in a variety of ways by giving us an alternative worship site, providing a home for our youth ministries, and allowing us to offer Bay County residents marvelous recreational opportunities. There is no doubt Fusion has made a difference in countless people’s lives and enabled many persons to have life-changing encounters with Christ. That being said, it has never been financially solvent nor do we feel we have maximized its ministry potential. Earlier this year, Fusion Campus Pastor Rudy Olivo put together a team of LHUMC members with backgrounds in business, sports, government, and nonprofit organizations. They looked at various ways we could better utilize the Fusion facility and ultimately brought in two consultants to help us find a way forward. One of them, Dan Cook, is an architect who builds churches and schools. He also has created a company called BGW Sustainable Solutions that helps congregations utilize their facilities to generate income. The other consultant, a business partner of Dan’s named Shawn Walker, runs Event Management Solutions (EMS), which operates recreational facilities across the country. After much prayerful consideration and deliberation, the church council decided to enter into a management agreement with EMS to run the day-to-day operations at Fusion. We are currently in an interim, joint relationship until November 1 when Shawn and his group will become the principal operators. While fitness activities will still be present, we will increase the recreational emphasis, especially with additional programs targeting children and youth. Fusion will still be a ministry of Lynn Haven UMC; EMS will simply be the operational manager. We will keep Fusion’s distinctively Christian environment and our youth will continue to use the facility for their Sunday and Wednesday night programs. We hope and pray the partnership will produce two results. For one, our goal is to make Fusion financially stable and even profitable, thereby creating an income stream that will enable us to channel more financial resources into ministry and mission. This partnership with EMS will also allow us, as a church, to focus on ministering to people rather than trying to run a business. We anticipate an increased flow of patrons at Fusion which will give a larger pool of persons to reach with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We plan on having church members serve at various times and be assigned to specific programs for the sole purpose of interacting with the clientele. We want to welcome people in Jesus’ name, tell them about our church’s ministries, share the gospel with them, and pray for their needs. If you would like more information about our plans, please come to a “town hall” (or should I say “church hall”) gathering on Tuesday, September 12, at 6:30 pm in the Fusion Community Room. After a presentation by Terry, Rudy, and I, you will have the opportunity to hear from our EMS partner, Shawn Walker. There will also be plenty of time for questions and answers. I am excited because I am convinced this is going to be a “previval” for Fusion. If you don’t know and understand the word, previval, you’ve obviously been skipping church the past month! I sincerely believe this is a new beginning that will enable us to grab hold of the future the Lord has planned for us and to reach many people for Christ.
To God be the glory!
In Christ, Craig Carter
Lead Pastor, LHUMC
By now you should be aware that sign ups for our Imagine campaign have begun. Imagine is a church-wide, nine-week journey that is designed to change the way we think about and manage our God-given resources of time, talents, treasures, and relationships. In particular, every member and participant in the life of the Lynn Haven United Methodist Church is being asked to join a Financial Peace University (FPU) class beginning the week of September 10. Our goal is to have at least 80% of our worshiping congregation enrolled in a group. FPU was developed by Dave Ramsey, America’s foremost money management guru. More than 2.5 million people have taken the course and learned how to embrace a lifestyle of biblical stewardship. In a recent letter to the congregation, I outlined why our church is participating in Imagine. In this article, I’d like to tell you why you should personally consider joining the effort. First of all, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are disciples. By its biblical definition, a disciple is a learner. When it comes to management of our God-given financial resources, we all have some learning to do. Some of us have a little to learn, some of us have a whole lot. My wife, Lee, and I took FPU last fall with a group of fellow staff members and spouses. While I consider myself a fairly good money manager, I gleaned a great deal of new information from the endeavor. In particular, I was reminded that everything I hold in my possession ultimately belongs to the Lord and therefore, I must use it wisely and carefully in order to produce the maximum benefit for God’s Kingdom. By sticking more closely to a budget, my family is now able to give more to the cause of Christ and other charities. Many of us simply need to learn how to construct a budget, develop a plan for getting out of debt, or start saving for retirement. “Imagine” what it would be like to have more knowledge and less financial stress in your life. Another reason for participating in Imagine is to be able to assist others in finding financial freedom. If you’re a good steward of your worldly treasures, you can help others through your accumulated wisdom. Those of us more “seasoned” adults have learned many lessons the hard way and we can spare others the heartache we’ve endured by mentoring them. A major component of FPU is discussing the material presented by Dave Ramsey. This group interaction is vital to growing as disciples in the area of financial management. So the classes are a wonderful forum for young and old to interact and learn from each other. “Imagine” making some new friends in Christ and celebrating their victories. Finally, our church as a whole will benefit from your participation. Something special happens when God’s people get on “the same page” and concentrate on a specific topic. For this reason, we are encouraging a “pause” of regularly scheduled Bible studies, Sunday School, life groups and other ministries to focus on the subject at hand. For example, I am “pausing” the Wednesday night Bible study and will facilitate a FPU class during that time period. With the whole congregation going through FPU, including versions for children and youth, we will become singleminded in our focus, at least for a little while. Several members have told me how significant it was years ago when the entire LHUMC went through “The Purpose Driven Life” together. In a similar way, I believe we’ll look back fondly on this time when we joined our hearts and minds in a common endeavor. Besides, your participation may encourage those who are reluctant to join the effort to get on-board. “Imagine” more people unified in purpose able to do more for the Kingdom. There will be FPU classes offered at various times and days throughout the week. Find a group that fits your schedule and then sign up on-line or in the church lobby. Just “imagine” what a difference this journey is going to make in your life and in the life of our congregation.