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A New Vision for Ministry at Trinity United Methodist Church

(Note: This vision was shared with the Church Council March 28. It was approved unanimously).

Things began on a trip to Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery, Alabama. We were overwhelmed by what we saw and experienced there. Through continuity of leadership and dedication to have 100% of their members involved in ministry, Frazer is able to do amazing things. We took lots of notes and the wheels began to turn, not just in my head—this is the important thing—but in everyone who went on the trip. We returned home with passion to get everyone in our church into active ministry, but also to reach out to the unchurched around us. We wanted to really become a Great Commission church.

The week after Frazer we sent in money for Easter postcards and coffee mugs, to help us reach new people for Christ. After that Jim Lawrence and I had lunch with Richard Hearne, a friend of this church and mine. We wanted to pick Richard’s brain about Trinity Church and its future. Three words from Richard started things happening in my mind: “People like options.” And then God started pouring new ideas and passions about the possibilities at Trinity. And I mean pouring—this stuff came like a waterfall!

Long before Frazer, we’d been talking about starting new services, and starting new ministries that were about faith sharing. We wanted to be able to articulate what God has done for us with people who have not yet had the same experience. We talked about Saturday night worship, which might appeal to young couples or unchurched folk. We talked about an early service on Sunday that might have a different style and emphasis. I wondered which we should try. Then our attendance at 11:00 began to sag. So my thought was to hold off on the new stuff until we could “fix” things. What the Spirit began saying was: “Don’t worry about Sunday morning. That will take care of itself.” “Who said you have to wait and fix things? And if you’re feeling led to offer new services, why do you have to pick? Why can’t you do both?” Then everything began to make sense. And the vision did not end there.

Part of the new long-term vision God sent me was a website name: I literally woke up with that website in my head. I had no idea of the web address was even available, but it said everything that the vision was communicating to me. Restart Trinity Church. A familiar text came to mind: “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Turned out the website was available, and after consulting with a couple of Frazer graduates we bought it. You can check out the new website today.

Beside the website, here are some additional facets of the vision:
* Sunday service at 8:30 a.m.: Communion every week, contemplative music, beginning June 4
* Coffee and fellowship before Sunday school, 9:30-9:45 a.m.
* Sunday service at 11:00 a.m. will remain as it is
* Saturday night service “All the Way Live!” at 5:00 p.m., followed by bible study or supper clubs. This service will be praise and worship, with musicians, beginning September 9
* New small groups will be forming, as Sunday school classes and home groups. These studies will help us understand and share our faith.

I know that this is a lot to absorb, and that all of us are going to have to adjust. Trinity Church is a special place, and we want to be able to share that with the community on their terms, not ours. People want options. Thinking about this has filled me with an enthusiasm I have never felt before as a pastor. I am grateful for those lay leaders who embraced this vision from the very beginning. None of this could have happened without God’s intervention. Believe me—God made this happen. Where this is going to take us I do not know, but my heart says that we will be able to reach people for Christ like never before. And isn’t that what God has placed us here to do? I hope everyone is as excited as the Church Council and I are. Great things are happening at our church! And greater things are coming!


kathleen c said…
WOW--awesome new website! While looking for a church down here in Austin, the first thing we would do is check out the church’s website. The new website really shows the spirit of Trinity. I enjoy reading the blog!
pastor frank said…
hi kathleen-- thank you for checking out our website and offering feedback!

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