As the calendar changes from August to September, I am looking forward to what the Fall holds. No, unlike many of you, it’s not because football season is about to begin. It’s certainly not because my beloved Atlanta Braves are making a playoff run. Instead, it’s because our regular schedule of ministries is about to resume and that makes it an exciting time of the year.
On September 7, our Wednesday evening activities will begin again after a summer hiatus. The youth are already in full swing at the Fusion campus. After their kickoff event on August 31, the Awanas and Cubbies will continue their journey of discipleship as they learn about Jesus and His Word.
The Pastor’s Bible Study will meet each week in the Sanctuary at 6:15 pm (following the Awana opening program). I will teach a six-week course on “How to Study the Bible.” We will explore some devotional approaches to Scripture along with more in-depth methods like inductive, topical, and character studies. The various steps in the process will be described and demonstrated so participants will gain confidence in their own ability to read, interpret, and apply God’s Word.
September 11th is going to be a memorable milestone in the life of our congregation. While that date will live in infamy for our nation because of the 9/11 attacks, it will serve as a new beginning for the Lynn Haven United Methodist Church as we launch a new Sunday morning worship schedule. As I’m sure you’re aware, in the Transmitter Sanctuary we will have a contemporary service at 9:30 am and a traditional service at 11:00 am. We will continue the 9:30 am contemporary service at the Fusion campus and hope to add an additional service there in the not-too-distant future. Considering our increased attendance this summer at Fusion (up nearly 25% over a year ago), that might not be far away.
We are convinced this new arrangement will make worship more meaningful for our existing members and attractive to newcomers at all service times and locations.
Also, we will start streaming the message on Facebook Live at 10 am each Sunday which will enable us to reach an even wider audience with the life-changing message of Christ.
The following week, September 18, we will begin a new sermon series called “Margin.” Based on a book by that title, it will address the devastating feelings of overload and stress that are so prevalent in our world today. Margin is the space that should exist between our selves and our limits. It’s something held in reserve for contingencies and unanticipated emergencies. We’ll investigate what the Bible has to say about the dangers of living on the edge and how God’s Word provides relief that brings us emotional energy, physical health, financial security, and satisfying relationships. As a result, we’ll be more available to follow God’s will and serve His eternal purposes.
Please plan to join us each Sunday and Wednesday and invite a friend, neighbor, or coworker to come with you. It’s a truly exciting time to be a part of this “Healthy Body” of Christ (get that reference to our current sermon series?). I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us as we carry out our divinely-appointed mission and “make disciples of Jesus Christ.” To God be the glory!
Lead Pastor, Lynn Haven UMC
Saludos de nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Cristo de la Iglesia Nueva Vida en Durango. Or, in vernacular you can probably better understand: “Greetings from our brothers and sisters in Christ from the New Life Church in Durango.” I just returned from a 7-day mission trip to Mexico. Our team of nine Lynn Haven members assisted the New Life Church with Vacation Bible School and built a handicapped ramp for their sanctuary. It’s worth noting that since I was a part of the construction team, it was even “less hardly able” than our own crew that builds ramps here in Bay County.
In addition, I had the opportunity to preach on two occasions and my wife, Lee, led a women’s Bible study. It was a productive week of ministry as we renewed our partnership with that congregation and their pastors, Jorge and Yulimar Martinez. They are doing great work for the Lord and making a difference for Christ in their community and world.
The VBS we helped with had about 75 children in attendance on Monday. But by Friday, that number had grown to over 200! Many of the families represented said they planned to return for worship. Not only are they touching the neighborhood around their church property, the New Life congregation sent out their first mission team last fall to a village in the mountains and they regularly take offerings for the poor in Venezuela. It was exciting to see a Body of believers that understands its mission is to “go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” (Mark 16:15 NLT)
Clearly, that is the case for our Lynn Haven United Methodist Church as well. We have committed ourselves to RiskTaking Mission and Service so we “offer ministry opportunities that stretch our congregation, causing us to do something for the good of others out of our deep desire to serve Christ.” As a result, in addition to the Durango trip, we sent a youth mission team to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and participated in two medical mission teams to Honduras in July. We want everyone involved in ministries of service and outreach, so please prayerfully consider joining us for our “Back to School Bash” at Southport Elementary on August 7. There is also still room on our Family Mission Trip to Gretna, Florida, September 23-25. Children ages third grade and up can participate with their families and younger children can come on Saturday for the day. For more information or to sign up, contact our Children’s Minister, Mary McQuagge (MaryMc@ MyLHUMC.net). Last, but not least, we are sending a team to Uganda this fall to build a church. We need servants to help with the construction, along with financial assistance for our two resident missionaries that will lead the effort, Jack Williams and Dale Jones. Contact Jack (jdjwill3@gmail. com) for more information and you can purchase mission shares at the table outside the Transmitter sanctuary.
I am thankful to be the pastor of a congregation that understands one of the great things about following Jesus is the chance to participate in the Great Commission. Let’s continue to “go and make disciples” in Jesus’ name.
To God be the glory!
Rev. Rudy Olivo is joining our church staff as an associate pastor this month. He is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and an ordained elder in our annual conference. After serving two United Methodist churches for a total of six years, Rudy became a full-time chaplain with the Air National Guard in 2014. Since last fall, he has been on active duty as a Tyndall AFB chaplain. Beginning July 1, he will continue his Air Force chaplaincy on a part-time basis (about one day a week) and will function on our church staff as a Teaching Pastor, working about ¾ time. He will become the primary preacher at our Fusion campus, while carrying out other pastoral leadership duties.
In studying the Jabez prayer recently, we have talked about what it means for God’s hand to be with us. Clearly, the hand of God was at work in bringing Rudy our way. While we were not actively seeking to add another pastor to our church staff, this opportunity presented itself and provides us with a variety of benefits. For one, we now have a pastor to do the teaching and worship design at Fusion on a consistent basis. This, in turn, frees our Fusion Campus Minister, Julio Samayoa, to do what he does best – develop and carry out effective ministries that reach a broad range of persons and ages. In addition, Rudy’s experience and continuing presence on Tyndall AFB will enable us to reach out to the military community in a more effective manner. Many of you already know Rudy, his wife, Starr, and their three children, Miriam, Walker, and Esther, as they have been participating in our congregation’s ministries for the past year or more. We will officially welcome them in their new role with a reception on Sunday, July 17, from 4 – 5:30 pm, at Fusion. Refreshments will be served. I look forward to a fruitful partnership in ministry with Rudy as we become fellow workers for Christ. I don’t how long this relationship will continue, but it will be for at least one year as I have been reappointed to serve the Lynn Haven UMC once again. I don’t know how you feel about that news, but I am excited about the opportunity to continue to serve this fine congregation. In addition, I am glad that Terry Tatum will continue in his role as Executive Pastor and Cathy Byrd has been reappointed as Deacon-in-Residence.
Speaking of appointments (how’s that for a smooth transition?), former Lynn Haven pastor, Doug Pennington, will become our District Superintendent on July 1. In that role, he will oversee the 60 churches that comprise the Marianna-Panama City District of the United Methodist Church. Doug will preach at our Transmitter worship services on July 24 and then we will host a district-wide reception in his honor that afternoon in our fellowship hall from 2:30-4:30 pm. Please stop by to welcome him and Sandy back “home.” I am grateful to be able to serve Christ and His Church among such outstanding ministers and fellow believers.
To God be the glory.