A new pastor . . .
By the time you read this newsletter, it will have been announced in Sunday’s worship service that the new and next pastor for First United Methodist Church – Mexia has been announced. The new and next pastor will be Reverend Jennifer Pick. We have attached her biography in this newsletter to enable you to know her better.

While I did not know Jennifer prior to this appointment, I have since spent time with her on the phone and had an opportunity to speak with her husband. Interestingly, I did know her husband, Todd, who has been employed in our Central Texas Conference office, but will now be appointed as a pastor to a church not far from here in West. Jennifer and Todd will be living in the FUMC parsonage along with their almost three-year old son.

Jennifer will represent the first female pastor appointed to this church. I truly feel you and this church are going to be blessed with this lady being appointed as your next pastor.

You can read Jennifer’s biography, but let me share why I am excited about her being appointed as your next pastor.

  • When I announced my retirement to you, I promised you that the next pastor would be younger. Jen-nifer is half my age and is in her mid-thirties. You are getting a young pastor, but also a young pastor with great experience.
  • The experience that Jennifer brings is that of turning churches this size or smaller around. One church, a very small church, went from 8 to 65 in worship attendance with her as pastor. Another church, one a bit larger, went from 77 to 120 in worship attendance. Additionally, for the last two years, she has been an Associate Pastor at FUMC in Grapevine (a very large church) in charge of worship and faith formation.
  • She has also been involved at a higher denominational level designing and directing large worship events.
  • She has an extensive educational background which is varied and a major plus.
  • Not only are you getting someone with a wonderful educational background, you are getting a person ordained and already a Full Elder. There were some conversations that the next appointment here could go to a Local Pastor, but getting a Full Elder is a major plus.
  • The fact that Jennifer and Todd have a young child that will be using the church’s Preschool is a huge plus. It has been a long time since a pastor had a child attending the Preschool and making vital con-tact with the parents at the Preschool.
  • Todd’s job at the Conference was in the Healthy Church Initiate program. It is being reconfigured, which is why he is moving back into a church appointment. My hunch is that Jennifer will know a lot or have access to a lot of resources on developing healthy churches. A very good thing!
  • So far I have mentioned lots of great things about Jennifer, but I have not mentioned that she is also a very good preacher. Leah, our District Superintendent, speaks very highly of her preaching ability. All you have to realize is that a poor preacher would not have grown those churches!
  • Before my conversation with Jennifer I was impressed by all that I had heard and read. After talking with her, I am even more impressed and excited for this church and congregation. In our conversation, she asked a lot of very good questions - some I expected and some I did not. I saw her as eager, ex-cited, and ready to meet the challenges.

If you cannot tell by now, I really like your next pastor. My job in the weeks to come will be to meet and talk with her. At some point, I will show her the church, the parsonage, and seek to prepare her as best possible before she gets here. And at some point in late May or early June, we will an evening meal with the Church Board for the more formal introductions.

Another part of my job in the weeks to come is to help prepare you for your next pastor. Part of this prep-aration process is composed of the following things for you to do:

  • Begin praying right now for Jennifer, Todd, and Andrew as they prepare to make this transition move. They will be doing a lot of packing, shuffling of stuff, leaving friends and known situations behind, and journeying to where God is leading them. Pray for them in all aspects of this move.
  • Begin communicating with Jennifer via cards and letters. Share your happiness, your joy, your excite-ment, your hopes, your dreams, your prayers, or anything you wish you share. Make it personal and do it more than once! You have until July 1, so you can do several cards and letters in that length of time.
    Send your mailed items to:
    Rev. Jennifer Pick
    2804 Garden Court
    Grapevine, Texas 76051
  • Pray also for this church and congregation. Adjustments will take place, changes will happen, and many things will be different. Some things will change immediately, such as having a better looking person in the pulpit. That should be an easy adjustment for you as well as not seeing that old gray headed guy. But all joking aside, pray for this church and this congregation.
  • Do not forget to pray for yourself! Ask God to give you direction on how you can be involved – in-volved in the welcoming process, involved in taking on a task, or involved in taking on new responsibil-ity within the church. Ask yourself, “What can I do in this new beginning?”
  • As you pray, be willing to be involved at a deeper level. For example, we know that Jennifer has a his-tory of pastoring churches that grew. Now think about this question, did Jennifer do all that growing by herself or did Jennifer have church members that assisted in that growth? Growing a church requires a congregation willing to work and be involved as well a pastor wanting to see growth.
  •  In preparing for the next pastor, there is work that will be needed to get the parsonage ready. The Church Board will be looking at replacing some carpet, painting the inside of the house, and making sure that all repairs are complete in order that the new family can move into a house without worry. The current parsonage renter will be out in plenty of time for all the needed items to be completed.

So as you can tell, we ALL have a role to play in preparation for the new pastor! Please help with your part.

Fifth Sunday . . .
The Fifth Sunday worship with St. Luke UMC was a wonderful time of worship. I really enjoy these mo-ments and wish there were more Fifth Sunday opportunities in the calendar. But there was one thing that really stood out to me in this Fifth Sunday experience – the manner in which we ate lunch. As the two congregations met for lunch in Fellowship Hall, I noticed that we had many tables with members of both congregations. I also noticed that we did not have anyone eating and running or leaving quickly, but that there appeared to be more genuine sharing, talking, and visiting with one another. This was great to see and I hope you noticed it too.

Being blessed more than I deserve,
Pastor Danny