“See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19, NIV
God is always doing new things—in our lives, in our churches, in our communities, and in the world. It has been exciting to be part of the new things that God is doing in and through Buckhorn and Good Shepherd United Methodist Churches. While many churches have decided to become part-time appointments and some churches have had to make the painful decision to close their doors for good, we are celebrating the fact that in January of this year, our two churches voted to become a full-time pastoral appointment beginning July 1!
We’re also experiencing God’s Spirit moving in a new and powerful way in our combined Fifth Sunday Worship Services that began last August. Agreeing that we are better together and together we can be more effective in ministry and in our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. The Staff-Parish Relations Committee met last summer and considered new opportunities for the two churches to come together in worship, gather together in fellowship, grow together in discipleship, and serve together in mission and ministry.
Our Fifth Sunday Services are providing us with the opportunity to do just that. On the last Sunday of every month with five Sundays, both churches come together in worship, with the location of the service alternating between the two churches. Our first Fifth Sunday Service had a Back-to-School theme, and we looked at the beginning of the school year as an opportunity for all of us to make a fresh start. Our second Fifth Sunday Service was held on the first Sunday of Advent, and we focused on preparing our hearts for Christmas by making room for Jesus.
We were surprised during this service by a flash mob made up of about 50 persons from Wesley UMC, who joyfully and exuberantly helped us “Prepare the Way for the Lord.” Then in January’s service we explored what it means to love one another as Jesus loves. Our Fifth Sunday Services not only provide opportunities for us to come together in worship but they also present us with new opportunities to grow together in discipleship and gather together in fellowship as well. Faith development opportunities are offered for all ages prior to these worship services, and of course, because we are United Methodist, you can count on our Fifth Sunday Services to include food and a time of fellowship. Discover the joy of coming together as the body of Christ at our next Fifth Sunday Service to be held at Good Shepherd on May 29 (See page 5 for details).
Another new thing that recently sprang up in our churches was the formation of small groups that gathered together this past winter/spring for Bible study. New friendships were formed and faith was deepened as 58 people from both churches meet in six different homes throughout our area to reflect on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ using Andy Stanley’s DVD series, “Christian: It’s Not What You Think.” (To hear what people are saying about this experience, see page 3). Watch for more information about our small groups, which will begin meeting again this Fall.
And last but not least, it’s been exciting to see more and more people from both churches serving together in ministry through such ministry opportunities as Good Shepherd’s mission meal, Meals-On-Wheels, and Bundles of Blessings.
C. S. Lewis, Christian apologist and one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century, is quoted as saying, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” We hope that you will catch the excitement and become a part of the new things that are springing up in our two churches!