Church Work . . .

Some years ago in my work on a Doctor of Ministry degree (More on this at another time.), I had the opportunity to work closely with a clinical psychologist in the area of stress management. He was a great guy and wonderful to be with, but while I cannot recall his name, I have never forgotten his definition for the term "work." He defined "work" as: Anything you are doing, when you would rather be doing something else.

This definition is one I love, because it is so practical in defining what we do and what we are about. Often we are "working" but to us it is fun and enjoyable and nothing close to being what we could call "work." At other times, we are at "work" and it is all we can do to keep our mind focused on our "work." On this type occasion, we grind our way through the day until our "work" is over.

I mention all of this, because I think United Methodist try to make the month of January a "work" month. You may not know this, but right now, in nearly every United Methodist church office around the world, the clergy and staff are in the process of compiling and gathering information to complete many different year end type reports. It is what I call the United Methodist equivalent to filing your yearly taxes with the IRS.

Bishop Lowry might not appreciate my description of these reports, but hopefully you get the drift that they are not fun and definitely fall into the "work" category. All United Methodist clergy, myself included, are grateful there is only one January to do the End of Year Report, the Fund Balance Report, the Pastor's Report, and what is called Checkout – to make sure all your reports are turned in and accurate. Such is the state of church work!

Training Opportunities . . .

Perhaps I should not use the term "training opportunities" due to how those words tend to make people run the other way, but two good opportunities to learn new stuff is coming. On Sunday, January 18 at Austin Avenue in Waco and Sunday, January 25 at FUMC Corsicana, the Central District will hold a Local Church Leaders Development. Programs at each location will focus on Lay Leader, Single Board Model, Ministry Safe, Inquiry to Ministry, and Treasurers/Bookkeepers.

Since I want to move our church toward a single board model, this would be a great time to learn more about what it is, how it differs from current structure, and how it might be implemented. Don Scott, our District Superintendent, will be conducting this presentation.

The Ministry Safe program is another area of interest for many since Ministry Safe replaces the current Safe Sanctuary model. As a church, we will need to be in compliance with Ministry Safe by July 2015. Attending this program will assist the church in setting policy and implementing Ministry Safe. Much can be gained by attending these programs, so I encourage you to consider going, learning, and sharing what you learned.

Conference Missional Offering . . .

For 2014 our Conference Missional Offering goal was $36,803. We sought to attain this with a 100% effort, but we fell short with an almost 90% effort in giving $32,785. However, even though we did not attain our goal, we are to be congratulated because this is so much better than the offerings of the past two years when we only did 22.6% and 52%.

In 2015 our Conference Missional Offering goal is set at $28,289. If this was our 2014 goal, we would have made it and even gone over, but 2015 is another year and another effort. It has been three years since FUMC – Mexia met the Conference Missional Offering goal at 100%. I pray that we, as a congregation, as a church, as individuals, will make every effort to attain 100% of our goal in 2015.

Church Web . . .

When was the last time you looked at the church web page? Your response may be similar to the same question in the chili commercial, which says, "Well, that's been too long." Sometime this week, the church will have a new design for the web site.

The previous site was very dated and very ready for an update.

James McKeand, Gael McKeever, and your pastor met to see how to best improve our site. The meetings led to several ideas and James McKeand went to work on a new model. We will retain the old address, but the content will be new as well as a new church logo.

Much still needs to be added to the site in order to provide more information on the church and this will be done in the weeks to come. So go to the web site and see the new design. In case you have forgotten, the address is: www.fumcmexia.org

Congregational concerns . . .

As I write this article, it was one week ago today that we gathered to celebrate the life of Wynona Lipsett. It was a beautiful service and one that Wynona had helped plan. A most remarkable lady!

We will miss Wynona, but we will cherish the many wonderful memories we hold of her and be inspired again and again in those memories.

The choir did a wonderful job preparing the meal for the family and as did so many non-choir members who stepped forward to offer assistance and food. I commend you as a church for all you have done and will continue to do for Don and the Lipsett Family. Wynona would be proud of you!

Weather happenings . . .

The cooler weather has finally arrived and with it have been lots of clouds and some rain. Cold damp weather can be fun for a while, but it is nice to see the sun on occasion as a reminder that it is there.

I say all of this about the weather because it seems like most of our recent Sunday mornings have been of the cold damp nature, which means it can be very tempting to visit Saint Mattress or worship at Rollover Reform. Both can have relaxing services, but let me encourage you to persevere, make the effort, and be blessed with the spirit of fellowship and presence of God as we worship in our sanctuary. You will be glad you did!

Being blessed more than I deserve,
Pastor Danny