During the past Lenten season, we were taken “On the Road with Jesus” through our weekly sermon series. During those sermons, we had the opportunity to reflect on the life and ministry of Christ in a way that helped prepare us to truly rejoice in His resurrection.
On Easter Sunday over 1,500 people worshiped with us, while over 2,300 worshiped with us during our Holy Week services, and an additional 1,000 more people worshiped with us online. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would reach nearly 5,000 people with the Good News of Jesus Christ in a seven-day period, but God made a way. God has also been making a way for His love to be shared through the daily ministries of our church.
This past month over a dozen young people completed our annual confirmation class and will join our church and be confirmed on May 7th. Many of them will be baptized at our annual Baptism in the Bay which will take place that afternoon at 2pm at A.L. Kinsual Park.
In April, we also had several people complete our latest Know course in which we discuss specifics about our church, salvation, baptism, communion, and church membership. As a result, several families who participated will be joining our church on Sunday, May 14th. Three of these people are first time professions of faith.
We concluded the month with City Serve where over 125 servants from our church and community joined together to serve folks throughout Bay County through various service projects, in doing so we truly became the hands and feet of Christ The natural reaction for many of us (myself included) is to take a step back and marvel in all that God has done through the ministries of our church in the past several weeks, but I believe with all my heart that the best is yet to come.
I was reminded this past week of a phrase a prominent football coach uses to keep everyone in his organization focused on the mission that is before them: “So what, what’s next?” As I said on a recent Sunday morning, you’ll never hear me say “So what”, about all that God has been doing in our church, but you will hear me ask, “What’s next?” I want to encourage everyone to participate in as many of the May ministry events as you can and let’s find out together “what’s next” for the Lynn Haven United Methodist Church.
To God Be the glory!
Terry Tatum Executive Pastor, LHUMC
We are in the Lenten season of the Christian year, the 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is a time that prepares us for the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection through prayer, repentance, and reflecting on what it means to be a follower of Christ. Lent concludes with the most significant period of time in the Christian year – Holy Week. Through a series of special events, we will commemorate what transpired during the final days of Jesus’ earthly life.
In an effort to include a larger audience, Holy Week devotionals will be posted on Facebook Live each morning at 6:30 am, beginning on Monday, April 10, and continuing until Easter. Pastors, staff, and church members will present brief lessons that will enable us to focus our attention on Christ at the start of each new day. If you miss the “live” version, you can view the videos through our website and social media links throughout the day.
On Wednesday, April 12, we will hold a Holy Week Service of Communion and Footwashing, at 6:00 pm, in the Transmitter Sanctuary. On this night we will recall the final hours that Jesus shared with His disciples when He ate the Last Supper with them and washed their feet. The service will include a message, the celebration of Holy Communion, and a symbolic footwashing ritual for those desiring to participate. Childcare will be provided only for preschool and nursery ages as elementary age children are invited to participate in the service. While many persons may be unfamiliar with or even skeptical about a footwashing service, past participants – both young and old alike – have found this type of service quite meaningful.
A Prayer Service will be held on Thursday, April 13, at 6:00 pm, in the Fusion Community Room. Coinciding with our monthly prayer time being held each 2nd Thursday, we will focus on the new commandment Jesus gave His disciples in the upper room when He told them, “Love one another” (John 13:34). We will pray for the unity of the Body of Christ and seek God’s blessing on our Easter services.
We will then remember our Lord’s suffering and death with a Good Friday Tenebrae Service of Darkness, on April 14, at 7:00 pm, in the Transmitter Sanctuary. Through Scripture reading, prayers, hymns, special music, and the extinguishing of candles, we will journey to the Cross where Jesus gave His life for us. Once again, childcare will be provided only for preschool and nursery ages.
Easter Sunday will begin with a Sunrise Service at 6:30 am at Kinsaul Park. This informal gathering will include joyous singing, a message by Terry Tatum, and the celebration of Holy Communion. Easter services will be conducted at our regular worship times with an additional early service. We will have contemporary services at 8:00 & 9:30 am in the Transmitter Sanctuary, along with a 9:30 am service at our Fusion campus. Easter worship in a traditional style will take place at 11:00 am in the Transmitter Sanctuary. The message will fit our Lenten sermon series as we travel “On the Road with Jesus to Resurrection.” Treasure Kids children’s church will meet for the entire hour at 9:30 and 11:00 am at Transmitter and 9:30 am at Fusion. Sunday School will not be held on this day.
I encourage you to make every effort to be with us for all of these worship experiences as we remember the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, prayerfully consider inviting a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member to join us as we celebrate the Good News of salvation. Perhaps more than any other time, persons welcome invitations to church around Easter. May God bless us with a generous outpouring of His Holy Spirit as we celebrate the salvation and eternal life He has provided us through His Son Jesus – our Risen Lord!
Lead Pastor, LHUMC
The Church Council is the primary administrative and decision-making body in the local church. It is responsible for overseeing and implementing the congregation’s ministries and mission efforts. The LHUMC Church Council, chaired by Tommy Tew, is made up of our pastors and staff, program coordinators, and at-large members.
At a recent meeting, two decisions were made that I would like to share with you. For one, the Council approved a 2017 ministry budget of $1,732,000. This represents a very slight increase (less than 1%) over last year’s. This budget includes monies for staff salaries, facilities, denominational support, programs, and outreach. In addition, about $75,000 from designated funds will be used to supplement certain areas, primarily to fund maintenance needs.
Last year, our congregation contributed $1,685,000 to the ministry budget so we need to see about a 3% increase to fully fund this year’s budget. This is an easily attainable goal given the fact our giving experienced a 5% growth rate in 2016. But it will require everyone’s participation and commitment. As I shared in a recent sermon, we have a large number of members and regular attendees who financially contribute little or nothing. While everyone cannot do the same thing, everyone can do some thing. I am truly grateful for the extravagant generosity shown by this congregation in support of God’s work in the world. I encourage each of you to consider prayerfully how much you can contribute to the cause of Christ and then give as the Bible commands – freely, consistently, generously, and cheerfully The Church Council also approved hiring a consultant to help us chart a course for our Fusion campus.
As Pastor Rudy Olivo described in last month’s newsletter, we are in the process of re-envisioning what Fusion can mean for our church and community, while at the same time, creating a business plan that will make it financially viable. During its first five years of existence, Fusion has been a wonderful platform for worship, youth ministry, and evangelistic outreach. But it has never had a clearly articulated mission, nor has it been financially solvent. Given the unique situation of a church having an off-site recreational facility for community use, we decided to enlist the services of BGW (Building God’s Way) Sustainable Solutions and Daniel Cook. Daniel is a licensed architect who helps churches use their facilities “more effectively, creatively, and efficiently to be relevant witnesses and engaging ministers of the Gospel to the surrounding community.” That sounds exactly what we want Fusion to be so we are looking forward to what Daniel will contribute to our understanding of how we can best use and operate the marvelous facility God has blessed us with. Daniel is already reviewing our financial statements and gathering demographic information. Then he will be on-site March 28-30 to tour our campuses and meet with staff, key leaders, and Fusion clients. Please be praying for Rudy, our Fusion Vision Team, and Daniel as we seek God’s direction.
I am thankful for the good leadership God has provided to our congregation and I appreciate the careful and prayerful consideration our Church Council gives to every decision. I look forward to what the Lord has in store for us in 2017, at both Transmitter and Fusion, and perhaps beyond.
To God be the glory!
Craig Carter Lead Pastor, LHUMC
I once heard a professor say that our stories inform where we’ve been & who we are. While I can’t recall the name of the one who uttered these words of wisdom, the idea underneath the phrase has never left me. Because of that when I get to a new place serving in a pastoral role I do my best to listen to the stories members tell. The process helps me understand who they see themselves to be as individuals and as an outpost for the Kingdom.
As I’ve engaged in this listening process over the last few months I’ve come to find something interesting: the stories I’ve heard people tell about why Lynn Haven United Methodist purchased Fusion have at once common points of fact, but they are told with decidedly different emphases.
To summarize the main points of virtually everyone I’ve heard from, Fusion was purchased:
1. To be a mission outpost, reaching folks who wouldn’t go to a traditional church
2. Because it was a sound financial decision, costing far less per square foot than a site built gym at the Transmitter location
3. Because there was financial potential on the business operations side to have it cover some amount of its cost
4. To provide a unique facility for youth within walking distance of Mosley High School
While all four of these reasons for purchasing Fusion have individual merit, each one will lead us to a place of success only if working in concert with the other three. Unfortunately, it seems none of the four has gained a place of prominence, while all have struggled to find how they work together. Because of that, there exist questions about what marks we are shooting for relevant to new disciples, revenue generated, how the space should be used, etc. All the while these questions loom, there is still this palpable connection to the Holy Spirit, that God is doing something here even now and there is this sense that Fusion is on the cusp of something even greater, if only we can connect the dots.
Because of this “almost great” feeling as an on-going way of life it has led to discontent. That feeling of discontent coupled with Julio’s departure, and the turn of the New Year all provide for us opportunity to look at 2017 as a turning point year for Fusion. As I mentioned earlier, our past stories inform who we are, but they do not have to define us. To that end, we are seeking to use our common history to inform where we are, but not to leave us there. Instead we want to launch forward, creating newfound success with a common narrative of why we have Fusion. In an effort to set vision and action for what Fusion will look like in the future we’re taking a few steps that I want to make you aware of:
1) We are refocusing ourselves on the mission of our church. When we make any decisions about Fusion we’ll make sure that we’re seeking to further our desire to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our community and world.
2) We realize Fusion has a unique role in the disciple making and growing process. To that end, we are seeking to live into our new Fusion purpose statement which states that Fusion exists, “To change lives in our community and world by growing people in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and others.” This mission statement comes from Luke 2:52 and will be the focus of the sermon series I will preach at Fusion in February.
3) I’ve created two action teams to help set a course for newfound success. One team will look at the ways we can integrate those of us who worship at Fusion on Sundays with the lives of folks who come to Fusion through the week who have no church home. The other team is focusing on the business operations at Fusion and asking what we can do to create the best structure to honor our mission of making disciples while finding a new level of financial stability and health.
No matter if you worship at Transmitter or at Fusion, you can join us as we create our new common story of whole person and whole Body of Christ health. You can pray with us, get a membership at Fusion (as a member you get a 15% discount), invite friends, feed the hungry at the food truck, and more. I look forward to having you join us in this endeavor and seeing what amazing things God does in and through us in the process.
Rudy OlivoFusion Pastor, LHUMC