As noted the second Sunday in June, I announced to Wesley Church that I had been re-appointed as your Pastor for a second year beginning Sunday, July 5. I had no reason to doubt that reappointment, but with Methodists, it is only official when our Bishop “sets” or “fixes” the appointments. So here I am again.
My first year has been a learn-as-you-minister experience. I started preaching as a 17-year-old high school senior (1968-69). My first pastorate was when I was a second-year seminary student in Louisville, KY (`1976). So I had about ten years of preaching experiences before I started pastoring. That means next year I will celebrate 40 years of pastoral experience! What a journey I’ve had! Wesley is the fourth United Methodist Church I’ve pastored since June, 2001. So, what have I learned? I’m glad you asked that question.
1) Wesley is a strong, laity-led church with many lifelong friendships and a history of being an inclusive fellowship. You love each other, enjoy eating with each other, do a very good job of weeping with one another and rejoicing with one another, and are very accepting of others when they are our guests.
3) Wesley considers itself family-oriented and seeks to enlarge that family by reaching to those who are homebound, in nursing or assisted living homes, or live with other family members or by themselves. This is a great ministry.
4) Wesley’s members come from all over Hopkins County and some regulars who are from adjoining counties such as Hunt and Wood. Amazingly, our reach is in every direction from our home base at 614 Texas Street. So, let’s “shine on” with our faith, love, and hospitality wherever we are! We really are honest when we say, “Wesley UMC: We Have a Place for You!” I still encourage us to “Invite. Disciple. Serve.” Remember how the Apostle Paul put it, “ I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. It is the power of God unto everyone who believes, both the Jew and the Gentile. ” Romans 1:16
5) Wesley’s Backpack Buddy Program is a great way to invest time in preparing food for needy children. But we must do more and our North Texas Bishop, Mike McKee, ranks this as a top priority for ministry for all of our churches in 2015-2016. More one-on-one touches in the schools from our church to the school through reading, mentoring, and serving such as we do at Travis.
6) Wesley’s Little Acorn School is a ministry of our church. We have been collecting school supplies for them in July, but I believe we can do much better than it shows! I love this program. I love the children and play/interface with them as often as possible. Trust me, my peers in ministry would love to have such a program in their church. We must pray for them and love them well!
Okay, that’s enough for now from me. I love Wesley UMC. Invite. Disciple. Serve. “Come to Wesley UMC: we talk about things like this!”