Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This sermon is specific to my congregation as I remind us of our mission, vision and core values. This message is also about over growing from a pastoral size church to a program size church.

facebook was created to help us share and connect with the people in our lives. One of the ways people share and connect on facebook is through their status. The status is simply a post of what is on your mind or what is going on in your life. There are not requirements for what you post as your status. Some people will update their status every five minutes. Usually not that much, but sometimes it feels like it when people post everything they do on there like what they ate for lunch, who they ran into at the mall, or where they are at the moment. Other people like to be creative with the status and post song lyrics that they like, quotes from people, or funny comments. I liked this from one of our church members this past week, “the UPS man scared me half to death twice…so I guess I should be only one fourth alive right?”

I do not change my status on a regular basis. Sometimes I will do it several days in a row. Other times I will go for a week or more without changing it. I mainly share significant events or thoughts. Like first day of school or a time I feel God doing something special.

With this idea of updating your status, I thought it would be a good time for us to think about our status. That is, who we are as a Christian Church. What is God doing? As I said you change your status from time to time, so I wanted us to think about how our status has changed. This has been a focus in our leadership committees and teams this year. So I have asked Carla Brinkman who is a co-chair of our SPRC, which is the group that works with our staff. So let’s listen to her thoughts on our status.

SHOW VIDEO (video taped a lay person sharing about our growth and changing from pastoral size to program size.)

Carla mentioned several updates to our status, and if we asked each person here you each may have a different idea for a status. In this message I want to discuss how our status has changed from a pastoral sized church just five years ago, to a program size church today. I was going share some history and statistics that show this change. For instance in 2004 when facebook was started we averaged 112 people on a Sunday morning. Today we average around 240 in our three services combined. Then we had a couple hundred people connected to our church. We now have around 500 people connected to our church. And because this church has never had that many people before we are still learning what it takes to be the church with this many people.

The leadership of this church continues to study what this means because other churches have done this before, but it is new for us. I personally have been talking with and learning from several pastors who have experienced growth like we have. I am learning that being the pastor for a program church takes very different skills as leading a ministry staff. So the status I see for us is learning to be a program church.

Our leadership teams and committees have been thinking about what our status is as well. As they have prayed and discussed this question of who God is calling us to be as a church, they have been guided by some thoughts. I want you each to be aware and get to know our guiding principles, which are in your message notes.

First, we have a mission as the body of Christ. Jesus gave us this mission at the end of the book of Matthew. Our mission and the mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This is our calling and always will be our calling. This is our goal, to make disciples.

One change that will be coming and is in the process is a change from Christian education to discipleship. Pastor Helen is working on leading this plan to change our wording to show we do not want to just educate people, but we want to teach discipleship, for our children, our youth, and our adults.

Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We will accomplish this mission through our vision. St. Paul’s UMC where you can SEE Christ. This means we want to allow Jesus to live in us for others to see and take notice. We allow Jesus to live in us through service, through experiences with Jesus, which is discipleship, and by embracing Christ in prayer and worship. This vision leads us as we continue to be the body of Christ.

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