Belfast United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 12, 2013
The mission of the Belfast United Methodist Church is to be a community of Disciples in service for Jesus Christ, sharing God's love with all.
Coordinator of Lay Ministries
“The Mission of the Belfast United Methodist Church is to be a community of disciples in service for Jesus Christ, sharing God’s love with all.”
Thoughts rom the desk of the Coordinator of Lay Ministries
Listening to Pastor Jinwoo’s message on Easter Sunday made me think of a song that is on the CD that I use when I work out on the treadmill. My favorite new Christian artist is Joshua Wilson-an artist I had the privilege seeing in person at the Third Day concert last month. I was familiar with several of the songs he sang– but it was good to be able to put a face to the musician. The song that I am speaking about is called, ‘Forest Fire’, a cut from his CD-See you. In regards to choosing to spread either the Good News or Gossip – this song reflects how our words can have a powerful effect on others and when unchallenged, how those words have the potential of forever changing the life of a person whose circumstances are really unknown to us or what we assume we know. These are the words for reflection: “Our tongues are like matches-our ears are like trees, our words are like sparks on some dry summer leaves– it doesn’t take much for a flame to ignite and turn a soul into a forest fire……..”.I know that Jinwoo’s message caused me to reflect on the times when I was guilty of spreading gossip instead of the Good News– we are all human– and whether we like to admit it or not, most of us can think of times when we should have listened more and spoken less. I know I will be more careful now– and I hope if you hear me spreading gossip instead of the Good News-you will challenge me to remember that -”my lips are like matches-my ears are like trees-my words can be sparks for some dry summer leaves..it doesn’t take much for a flame to ignite…”. It’s really up to me to prevent a forest fire– what about you?
Almost always, I sign my e-mails and other correspondances with the word "Blessings". It is something I have been doing for a long time, never giving much thought as to the reason why. "Companions in Christ", The Way of Blessedness" was a class I facilitated last year. Our first class centered on what it means to be blessed, and challeged us to make a list of those persons who have been a blessing in our lives, at one time or another. Immediately, I thought of my grandmother, for whom I am named. She was the first person to talk to me about God. She took me to church at a young age, taught me how to pray, and lived out her faith as a wonderful example to me , by her loving, caring, and generous heart. She was a very important person in my life, and I think of her when I hear one of her favorite hymns, see a beautiful flower garden, tend to the needs of a young child, and in so many more ways. She taught me the importance of counting my blessings, no matter what may have happened throughout the day. I reccently came into possession of several of my grandmother's personal journals. She wrote almost every day of her 80 plus years. I have been reading them for the past several weeks, and have learned that no matter how sad, frustrated, lonely, upset, or angry my grandmother was, on an given day, she always ended her writings with a prayer to God - thanking him for her life, her family, her friends, and even her frustrations and disappointments. She always said that we can learn much from such things; saying that in these times, in particular, is when we need to be most reminded of our blessings.
Who has been a blessing in your life? Maybe you could thank that person this week by a phone call, a note, or in person.....or if they are no longer here, remember them, as I do me grandmother, by the things that remind you of them. Do you count your blessings, even in the midst of difficulties, frustrations, and disappointments?
As Christians, we can all count , as a blessing, the unconditional love of our creator, his unmerited grace, and forgiving heart. In the days and weeks ahead, let us live our faith by reaching out and being a blessing in soemone's life.
Chit Chat from the COLM corner Visitation Ministry
In a pastor led church (roughly 50-150 in weekly attendance) the pastor is the one through whom most decisions and actions occur in spiritual development or programming. Decisions are always made with the pastor’s input, the programs that are offered tend to be led or organized by the pastor. People turn to the pastor to replace light bulbs and to discuss the real meaning of revelation.
In a program-sized church (roughly 175-300), there is greater lay leadership that handles many of the programming offerings within the church. The lay people create, organize, implement and celebrate the various programs. The Pastor continues to serve the church in the area spiritual development including worship, evangelism, visioning, teaching, etc. The pastor cannot handle both aspects and the hiring of an additional staff person is required.
The Belfast UMC is a growing and on the move faith community and as such we need to be constantly offering opportunities for making disciples for Jesus Christ, developing and supporting the community of disciples. The Coordinator of Lay Ministries (CoLM) would take the lead in the program area of this vision. The CoLM would serve as a bridge to the lay people who come to the church, helping them to develop their faith and see how that faith can be used in their personal family, as well as the faith community. The CoLM would have a very serious and tangible impact on the creation of the community of disciples and how they might serve Jesus Christ with the gifts they have been given within the ministry and missions of the Belfast UMC.
The CoLM would have a comprehensive view and understanding of all programs in church and would assist in coordinating them so that all were remaining true to the mission statement as well as Christ’s command to make disciples of all people, teaching and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They would celebrate successful programs and offer assistance to those that might struggle. One of their goals would be to develop programs that are success stories.
The CoLM would serve as a communicator between various committees, between the office and the volunteers, between the church and its people, and alongside the pastor. The CoLM is the person in the office who could make various contacts as needed to enable the ministry and missions of the church to continue. The CoLM supports various comities as needed. For instance, when three different groups need to be reached to gather information, the CoLM would be willing to step in and seek out that information. This might enable additional work to be completed by the committees.
The CoLM could attend PPRC Meetings as a member of the church leadership staff. The CoLM would oversee the publicizing of events for the benefit of the faith community but also those living within the community around the church.
The CoLM would work with the pastor and the Visioning Team to fulfill the mission and goals of the church. The CoLM would have an annual evaluation with the PPRC at which time the CoLM would share their personal and church goals for review and direction.
This position would eventually (within 3-5 years) become a full-time position with the focus on coordinating programming and lay ministry in the church. The definition of the job would have some fluidity and would be updated as needed in the SPRC.